Stormwater Management: Compliance, Inspections and Repair
In natural landscapes, the soil, trees and plants absorb most stormwater and hold it close to where it falls. However, in developed areas, impervious surfaces like roads, buildings, parking lots and compacted soil don’t allow rain to soak into the ground and runoff is generated. This unmanaged stormwater causes two major issues: flooding in neighborhoods and pollution in surrounding waterways. That’s why it is so important to not only have stormwater management facilities, but also have a plan in place to help ensure that your facilities are functioning properly.
No matter what type of stormwater system you have – whether it’s a pond, wetland or dry retention basin – effective management starts with the implementation of an annual inspection program. In many cases, an annual inspection is actually a local or state requirement. In the past few years, new legislation has strengthened the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, making compliance even more critical for property owners and managers. Complying with regulations and proactively managing your stormwater facility helps prevents sediment and pollutants from entering surrounding streams, rivers, lakes, bays and the ocean as a result of stormwater runoff.
Routine stormwater facility inspections and maintenance will also help you identify and fix problems before they get too costly to correct. Maintenance includes clearing of the inlet pipes and outlet structures to maintain flow, control of trees and invasive species on the embankment and near inlet and outlet structures, and removal of sediment and debris from areas where riprap has been installed for stabilization. As part of an annual stormwater inspection program, our pond management professionals will work closely when needed with engineers to carefully check that all structural components are intact and functioning properly. If issues are identified, they will recommend specific actions to remediate the problems.
Even with a proactive maintenance and inspection plan in place, major structural repairs and dredging will eventually be required. Over time, pipes will begin to crack, gate valves will become corroded and sediment will continue to accumulate until water flow becomes restricted. And knowing “when” all this will happen is the key to planning and budgeting. Maintenance inspections will help indicate when it’s time to start planning for structural work. Additionally, it’s recommended to have regular bathymetric studies completed. These studies allow you to track the buildup of sediment on the bottom of your waterbody over time, and thus help you determine the necessary budget and timing for future dredging projects.No matter how new or how old your stormwater management facilities are, it’s never too soon or too late to start conducting annual stormwater inspections. So if you’re not conducting annual stormwater inspections as part of your overall stormwater management plan, the time to start is now.