A Guide to Creating a Stormwater Management Plan in Colorado Springs

Stormwater Management Plan

The state of Colorado ranks number 42 for storm risk, yet some of the most expensive hailstorms have happened here! Water from the storm can pose devastating challenges if not properly managed. Insufficient stormwater management can result in increased surface runoff, leading to flooding.

What’s more, it can cause erosion and water quality degradation. With the increasing frequency of storms, having a stormwater management plan is essential. Below is a guide on creating a stormwater management plan in Colorado Springs.

What Is a Stormwater Management Plan?

A stormwater management plan (SWMP) is a document that outlines how a construction site will reduce the discharge of stormwater runoff. Most municipalities need this plan to get a building permit. Some of the key components of a stormwater management plan include:

Site Assessment

The task involves gathering and examining data on the project site. These conditions include:

  • Topography
  • Soil
  • Vegetation
  • Drainage
  • Hydrology
  • Land use
  • Climate
  • Potential sources of contamination

Understanding these existing conditions helps you identify potential risks and hazards. This allows you to develop practices that mitigate environmental impact.

Design Criteria

The plan should establish design criteria based on the best available engineering practices. Stakeholder and public input is also vital.

Best Management Practices (BMPs)

Selecting and designing BMPs is an essential component of an SWMP. They can help you mitigate runoff pollution, prevent erosion, and enhance water quality. Properly implemented BMPs also ensure regulatory compliance, resulting in sustainable urban development.

Regulatory Requirements and Permits

To follow regulations, you must get permits under NPDES. This can involve submitting permits with chosen BMPs. Additionally, you should include goals for each minimum control measure.

Post-Construction and Ongoing Management

The plan should address post-construction runoff control and pollution prevention. This includes measures for ongoing management, inspections, and training. It helps ensure the effectiveness of the SWMP.

Commercial Stormwater Management Ideas for Stormwater Management Plan

Effective stormwater management helps mitigate the environmental impact of urban development. Implementing a comprehensive SWMP involves a range of innovative and sustainable solutions. Here are some commercial stormwater management ideas:

Vegetated Filter Strips

Located along the edges of paved surfaces, these strips act as natural filters. They capture and treat stormwater runoff, removing pollutants before they reach water bodies. These strips also provide habitat for wildlife.

Permeable Pavements

Permeable pavements are a sustainable alternative to traditional impervious surfaces. They allow water to penetrate through the surface, reducing runoff. What’s more, this can promote groundwater recharge.

Permeable pavements come in various forms, including:

  • Permeable concrete
  • Asphalt
  • Interlocking pavers

These pavements enhance stormwater infiltration, reducing the risk of flooding. Additionally, it reduces the need for conventional drainage systems.

Constructed Wetlands

Constructed wetlands are systems designed to imitate the natural functions of wetlands. These systems use vegetation, soil, and microbial processes to treat stormwater runoff. They are effective in removing pollutants such as metals and sediments.

Constructed wetlands also provide a home for diverse animal and plant species. This helps enhance biodiversity within urban environments.

Bioretention Areas/Rain Gardens

Landscaped features capture and treat stormwater in bioretention areas. These areas have engineered soils that help absorb water and remove pollutants.

Additionally, bioretention areas are good-looking. This means you can integrate them into urban spaces as attractive green spaces.

How to Create a Stormwater Management Plan in Colorado Springs

Creating a stormwater management plan (SWMP) in Colorado Springs is crucial. It helps handle water runoff and ensures public safety. Here is a step-by-step process of creating an SWMP for your commercial property.

Step 1: Understand the Stormwater Ordinance

To create a robust SWMP, you must first know the Stormwater Ordinance of Colorado Springs. This ordinance sets the basic rules for managing stormwater. It helps protect and improve local watersheds.

When you know its guidelines, you ensure that your plan follows the city’s standards. This compliance helps you prevent water issues and enhances environmental protection.

Step 2: Determine the Need for a Stormwater Management Plan

Not every project needs a stormwater management plan. However, for some commercial projects, it is a regulatory imperative. These include:

  • Projects that have a high potential water quality risk
  • Projects advertised on or after January 1, 2021
  • Projects that need a Colorado Discharge Permit System (CDPS) Stormwater Construction Permit (SCP)

These projects need an SWMP to ensure compliance with local regulations. Having a SWMP also helps promote sustainable stormwater management practices

Step 3: Develop the Stormwater Management Plan

Crafting an effective SWMP involves meticulous planning. You can start by offering a detailed description of your project. It helps outline what it is and how it may affect your water quality.

Your SWMP should also highlight the impacts your project will have on water quality. When you understand this, you can plan ways to mitigate any negative effects.

Next, identify and implement best management practices (BMPs) tailored to your project. BMPs are specifically designed to control erosion and sedimentation. This will help keep your commercial project eco-friendly.

When crafting your SWMP, make sure it is dynamic and evolves with your project. As your construction project progresses, be ready to tweak your plan. This flexibility ensures that your stormwater management remains effective during the project’s lifecycle.

Step 4: Implement the Stormwater Management Plan

Putting the SWMP into action is where the rubber meets the road. This is where your commitment transforms from words to tangible actions.

To start, ensure proper maintenance of BMPs through routine and non-routine tasks. Next, collaborate closely with local authorities in Colorado Springs. This partnership will help you secure permits and inspections.

As a result, you can make sure that your project aligns with city regulations. For effective implementation, you can empower property owners and stakeholders. Use training and resources to foster a collective commitment to best practices.

Step 5: Monitor and Maintain the Stormwater Management Plan

Creating an SWMP is not a one-time task; it is an ongoing commitment to environmental responsibility.

This is why you need to regularly review and update your plan to align with your project’s evolving needs. What’s more, it allows you to adapt to the changing local regulations.

Make sure you conduct thorough inspections of stormwater facilities and practices. This will help you identify and address issues promptly. As a result, your stormwater management will remain efficient.

Step 6: Consult Resources and Guidance

Creating an SWMP can be daunting. However, you don’t have to go it alone. You can leverage available resources such as Colorado Springs Stormwater Enterprise.

These resources can provide you with invaluable insights for effective stormwater management. The City of Colorado Springs offers SWMP templates for planning you can use.

Also, you can take part in training programs to stay updated. These programs focus on the latest stormwater management techniques.

The Benefits of Creating a Stormwater Management Plan

As Colorado Springs experiences rapid urbanization, it faces challenges related to stormwater management. This makes a stormwater management plan a requirement for any commercial building. Here is why:

Prevents Flooding

Most cities like Denver and Colorado Springs tend to have unpredictable weather patterns. This can lead to flash floods. As a result, residents may have to deal with waterlogged streets and damaged property.

Implementing a robust stormwater management plan helps prevent flooding in urban areas. Your SWMP may include the construction and maintenance of strategic drainage systems. These drains efficiently channel excess water away from streets and property, averting floods.

Enhances Environmental Conservation

As construction projects increase, the need for stormwater management becomes vital. Without a proper plan in place, the runoff from these projects can harm local ecosystems. These include:

  • Groundwater recharge
  • Wildlife
  • Soil moisture, interflow, and baseflow
  • Wetlands and aquatic ecosystems
  • Water purification and infiltration

Incorporating sustainable practices into the SWMP is important. It ensures projects coexist well with the environment.

Improves Water Quality

Colorado residents are increasingly worried about the quality of their water sources. Poor stormwater management contributes to water pollution. This can negatively impact the quantity and quality of drinking water.

A well-designed SWMP includes measures to mitigate pollutants. This helps protect the water supply for residents.

Mitigates Erosion and Sedimentation

The natural topography of Colorado Springs makes it susceptible to erosion. This problem can become worse with construction and commercial activities. If left unchecked, erosion can damage your landscape.

What’s more, it leads to sedimentation in water bodies. A stormwater management plan provides guidelines to reduce erosion. This helps preserve your city’s aesthetic appeal and prevents sediment-related issues.

Saves Cost

Addressing stormwater damage is costly for both residents and local authorities. When you create a comprehensive SWMP, the city can help you save money in the long run. Additionally, it reduces the financial strain on its residents.

Protect Your Commercial Project With a Stormwater Management Plan in Colorado Springs

Creating a stormwater management plan in Colorado Springs is a multifaceted task. It requires a combination of regulatory compliance, local insights, and innovative ideas. When you embrace these commercial stormwater management ideas, you can safeguard your project.

At Hammers Construction, we understand that your commercial project is a big investment. We create spaces that surpass stormwater management expectations to ensure success. Get in touch with us today to get started.

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About Hammers Construction

Over 60 years ago, Steve and Dave Hammers’ father began a commercial construction company in Northern Minnesota. Steve and Dave are carrying on the family tradition and passion for design-build construction. In 1986, the business bearing the family name, expanded to the Rocky Mountains. In 1991, Hammers Construction, Inc. (HCI) became an independent entity in Colorado Springs, CO. Over the years, HCI has earned a reputation for honesty, integrity, and professionalism in the very unique design-build construction industry.

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