Treading Dangerous Waters? The Importance of Stormwater Management, Explained

stormwater management

Did you know that America has approximately 2.5 million stormwater treatment assets? Stormwater treatment is not readily discussed or understood. So it’s expected that you’ll have some questions about stormwater assessments and why managing stormwater is needed. Don’t worry! We investigated all you need to know about stormwater management.

That way, you can be prepared for any incoming storm. Now, are you ready to get started? Here’s an in-depth review of water management:

What Is Stormwater Management?

Stormwater handling is the process of planning for, analyzing, and managing stormwater runoff. Management systems are typically unseen and underappreciated by the public. Although, they are responsible for maintaining water quality and reducing flooding in cities.

After all, when there’s light rainwater, the soil will absorb it and filter it through rivers or streams. However, when there’s excess rainwater, water will start to pool at the surface.

The rain will eventually run through sewer systems while picking up debris and pollutants, which can harm bodies of water. These toxins can make swimming, drinking, and even fishing in natural waters dangerous.

Thus, health and safety are at the forefront of stormwater management. It works toward reducing pollutants in any practice, whether it be physical, chemical, or structural. That way, water contamination and soil erosion are at an all-time low.

Sadly, companies don’t often think about how stormwater can affect them and thus don’t have a plan to prepare for it. All companies, big or small, should look into managing stormwater and its effects if it goes unnoticed.

How Does It Work?

Generally, there are two ways to manage and control stormwater. The first, green infrastructure, is the most common and understood.

Green infrastructure protects and helps restore stormwater. It works by planting trees and rehabilitating wetlands so the water can be filtered naturally rather than through a water treatment plant.

The problem is that this takes time. It can take a month or two to work as designed. You would naturally think that a water treatment plant would be the next course of action, and you are right.

Water treatment plants are a good way to manage stormwater; however, they have some problems. After all, there are always capacity limits that limit how much water can be treated at one time and for how long. Thus, water treatment plants aren’t always the best solution to restore excess water.

Although that doesn’t mean they can’t be used at all. Rainwater is also managed through gray infrastructure. This uses gutters, storm sewers, and drainage systems to bring water to a treatment plant.

Both plans have their flaws, but when used properly, they can be a good solution to water management. Now, these plans weren’t just made up by a council; dedicated stormwater programs aim to help businesses deal with rainwater runoff properly. After all, due to federal regulations, business owners are required to handle their own storm systems.

Importance of Stormwater Management

Water management is crucial to keeping a healthy and safe ecosystem, but the question still remains: why is it used? To further explain, we have listed a few reasons stormwater management is important and necessary below:

Reduce Water Pollution

Soil is nature’s water filter; it cleans and freshens water for all of its waterways. However, the water will run down roads in cities with little soil before heading to a storm drain. In doing so, water may pick up debris, bacteria, and other pollutants.

If water pollution were to occur, it could make the water dangerous to a person’s health by containing harmful bacteria or acting as a poison in the digestive tract. Thus, rainwater management is primarily focused on reducing water pollution to ensure the health and safety of the public.

By creating an effective strategy and maintaining it, water will be clean and fresh when it enters waterways.

Relocate Flooding and Erosion

When excess water falls on flat surfaces, it tends to run rather than soak into the soil. This, of course, can cause a number of consequences, including flooding and possible infrastructural damage. Both scenarios can leave people displaced and cause damage to homes as well as injuries and deaths.

So if you have correct and safe rainwater policies in place, the runoff can be controlled, preventing floods and infrastructural damage from occurring. It improves the city’s safety and helps prevent loss of property and life.

Stop Storm and Sewer Overflow

There are a number of different types of stormwater facilities that are created to hold excess water, but they always have capacity limits. The same happens for sewer systems.

Now, the water won’t be treated properly if the city doesn’t have the right management strategy. It can be undertreated or, in the worst case, overflow, causing flooding and water pollution.

That, of course, defies the whole point of rainwater management. So it’s important to have a management system in place that effectively prevents storm systems from overflowing.

Meet Federal Regulations

Recently, strict federal regulations have been put in place to ensure water quality. Stormwater assessments help communities form policies to manage and control stormwater. That way, water doesn’t become polluted and affect the health and safety of the public.

Businesses should implement a stormwater plan to avoid penalties and fines. While most cities are not enforcing these regulations, a plan should be created anyway. If you need help with your stormwater plan, numerous nationwide programs will help you find a plan that’s right for you and your business.

What Can You Do?

National programs help protect and maintain water management, but that doesn’t mean you have to sit on the sidelines. While it’s true you are but one person, your help is certainly appreciated nonetheless. Even if it’s the smallest of acts, your contribution is helpful.

In fact, there are a number of ways you and your company can help, so we have listed three ways to get you thinking:

Educate Yourself

The first way you can help is to educate yourself and your employees about stormwater. Look up what it does to the ecosystem, the city, and the real effect it could have on you and your company. Read different sources to see what policies your city has and what management strategies they use.

Look for credible sources like articles or studies from the government, eco-friendly sites, and news from national geographic to learn more about water management. You can even go to the pros to learn why stormwater matters.

In fact, you are doing that right now. By reading this article, you are taking the first step in advocating for stormwater management, so pat yourself on the back.

Maintain Your Company Vehicles

Vehicles that aren’t maintained tend to excrete oil and gasoline. These chemicals often stick to a driveway, where rainwater runs, polluting the water as it heads to the sewer. These pollutants are bad for water quality and can pose health risks.

So do your part to protect water quality by maintaining your company vehicles. You can do this in one of two ways: bring your company vehicle into a garage where rainwater is unlikely to run or keep up with your vehicle’s maintenance. That way, your company vehicle won’t pollute rainwater or cause unnecessary damage to the ecosystem.

Reduce the Use of Fertilizers

Fertilizers and pesticides contain harmful chemicals that can pollute rainwater and make it poisonous. After all, when the rain falls, it will land on your property, sweeping up those chemicals and thereby polluting the water.

To help, limit your use of harmful chemicals or stop using them together. That way, when the rain falls, it lands on the grass and soil, which will naturally filter the water.

Of course, limiting your use can be difficult, so we urge you to do it when you can. You don’t have to follow strict rules, but try to reduce the use of fertilizers and pesticides when possible.

Use Stormwater Management Today

Stormwater management is essential to prevent water pollution, flooding, and infrastructure damage. Federal policies have been put in place, and national programs help local communities and businesses create effective plans. That way, waterways stay clean and safe for public use and consumption.

Still, water management isn’t greatly understood or appreciated, so hopefully, this article helped you understand more about water management and why it matters. Now, we know managing stormwater isn’t always easy.

Contact us today if you’re interested in building your company’s own stormwater system.

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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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