August 24, 2021
Keep Stormwater Management on Your Radar
As civil engineers, the first thing we consider for a project is stormwater management. According to our founder Jay Brown, PE, “it is the most important thing we do on a project.”
Managing stormwater is essential for community health and safety and infrastructure longevity. Read on to discover more about why effective stormwater management is so important.
Purposes of Stormwater Management
Stormwater runoff happens when rain flows over impervious surfaces, including streets, parking lots, and roofs, preventing it from being absorbed into the ground. The purpose of stormwater management is to control this runoff. It also helps ensure water quality by capturing and reusing the rainfall while simultaneously reducing contaminants like heavy metals or sediment.
Stormwater management includes the following components:
- Pervious surfaces help rainfall be absorbed into the soil, where it is naturally filtered.
- Gray infrastructure includes gutters, sewers, drainage pipes, and culverts designed to impede stormwater flow to mitigate flooding and reduce contaminants entering water bodies.
- Blue/Green infrastructure protects and restores the water cycle.
North Central Florida gets about 50 inches of rainfall each year. Buildings and other impervious surfaces keep the ground from soaking up all the rain as it should, causing it to flow into ditches, drains, and sewers leading to flooding, erosion, or facilities damage.
Permitting and Regulation Compliance
Stormwater management is one of the most significant permitting and regulatory areas and requires a thorough knowledge of current policies. The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Stormwater Program develops, administers, and enforces rules to help mitigate stormwater pollution. NPDES regulates discharge from Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s) and construction and industrial projects.
Factors Affecting Stormwater
Stormwater conveyance is the movement of water from one place to another. Without appropriate stormwater management systems, runoff accumulates contaminants such as oil, grass, pet waste, and pesticides that then travel to water bodies in our area, making it unsafe to drink.
The environment also plays a role in how stormwater is managed, including the following factors:
- Tree Canopy
- Nearby wetlands
Grading is an important part of stormwater management because even the most minor topographic change can impact the speed and direction that water flows on a project site. It is necessary to move water away from structures to avoid causing damage.
Pipes make up retention and detention systems to store runoff and are sized to slow the runoff rate so waterways will not overflow. Retention pipes are usually perforated with watertight joints, and a discharge outlet is used to control how much water flows into the receptacle.
Problems With Inefficient Stormwater Management
When stormwater has nowhere to go because sewage systems are overflowing, the runoff can overwhelm urban drainage systems and lead to roadway flooding. This affects every citizen because uncontrolled flooding can destroy neighborhoods, buildings, and transportation routes.
We all know it takes more effort to fix a damaged road than to plan and build it properly in the first place. With incorrect or insufficient stormwater management, rainfall erosion causes infrastructure damage, including cracked sidewalks and pothole development. These only worsen over time, and a lack of sufficient maintenance can hasten breakdown.
JBPro Is Your Expert Stormwater Management Team
Stormwater management is a serious topic that must be addressed in preparation for site development and site renovation projects. Stormwater management is an area of constantly evolving technology and permitting requirements. Climate change and rising sea levels will also be a factor in how stormwater regulations are assessed in the future. At JBPro, we focus on being up to date with the latest technology and best practices, and we design projects that can weather any storm. If need be, we also find solutions for older sites that are no longer up to par with today’s stormwater needs. Of course, the best solution is to hire the team that thoroughly understands stormwater management, so it’s done properly for your project in the first place. Building in North or Central Florida? You need stormwater experts. Contact us today.