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What Are Storm Water Compliance Needs?

Water pollution is a real issue with many causes. With this in mind, there are several stormwater compliance issues that all localities should be aware of when planning their future stormwater infrastructure needs. While stormwater infrastructures are very costly, they are needed to protect our environment.

Below is a list of some types of stormwater compliance needs to look out for:

New Residential Subdivisions

Every new residential subdivision must have the capacity to handle the first one inch of rainfall on all roads and parking areas within their jurisdiction. This will reduce flooding in surrounding homes and reduce pollutants entering local waterways. A few examples of where this type of compliance is often not met include increased impervious surfaces without sufficient drainage, too many curb cuts for driveways, or insufficient street grades allowing large amounts of runoff into road ditches.

Impervious Surface Area

The total impervious surface area in a watershed is one of the most important factors in determining the overall water quality. Watersheds with higher amounts of impervious surfaces have much higher volumes and rates of stormwater runoff, limiting infiltration into soils and increasing peak flows to downstream channels.

In addition, impervious surfaces contribute more pollutants than non-impervious surfaces because they do not have soil media to filter contaminants naturally. If you live in an area with few trees or grasses on your property, maintaining vegetative buffers around your home can help reduce its impact on water quality.

Basic Bioretention Treatment

A bioretention system uses vegetation and soils to filter runoff pollutants before entering waterways, allowing more clean water to infiltrate into groundwater sources. In a basic bioretention system, a drainage swale collects runoff from impervious surfaces, which filters through layers of gravel, sand, soil, and mulch, similar to how natural systems work.

Wet Pond Treatment

A wet pond is a free-standing retention pond with water usually no more than six feet deep. This treatment uses vegetation around the perimeter to filter out sediment before entering waterways, allowing for cleaner runoff into nearby surface waters. The water slowly fills and drains through groundwater infiltration or pumps to remove excess water following rain events.

Pollution Prevention

Pollution prevention compliance needs go hand in hand with stormwater runoff concerns because they often share similar sources. For example, if waste gets dumped next to a stream, it will flow into the water and add to pollution in an area where there would already be some. Another example is if waste is dumped in nearby sewers, leading to nearby creeks or rivers.

Erosion Control

Soil erosion control compliance entails ensuring that grasses and other vegetation are planted in areas where erosion control may be necessary. This can be done to prevent sediment build-up in reservoirs and rivers.

Stormwater compliance is what city engineers are faced with when it comes to federal regulations. Relevant agencies have set numerous mandates for cities and municipalities to keep stormwater out of rivers, streams, canals or other bodies of water that lead to oceans. This is quite simple! The pollutants that enter these waterways through stormwater runoff cause severe damage to aquatic life.

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