STORMWATER SYSTEM MANAGEMENT DURING THE TRANSITION OUT OF WINTER
Regardless of where your property is located, there are key strategies for proper management of your stormwater system (BMP) year-round. Continuous attention to the system, specifically in the form of inspection and maintenance, is critical in maintaining compliance, preventing failure, and ensuring water quality and quantity standards per design. Monthly, or even more frequent, stormwater maintenance is becoming more of a standard, and is often a regulatory requirement. It is imperative that an individual who is fully experienced with the local regulations, function of the BMP in place, and maintenance needs of the system is responsible for its management. For information specific to Stormwater Laws and Regulations in your region, visit: http://rrstormwater.com/laws-regulations
Winter can be a deceiving time of year with respect to BMP maintenance, depending on the location of the property, but can also be a critical time of year with respect to a stormwater system’s performance. It is easy to assume that BMP maintenance schedules coincide with the growing season, since vegetative management practices cease. However, there are many activities and observations that are recommended to take place during this dormancy period. Besides the benefit of observing the system’s performance through all climates, a few dormant-season maintenance activities include ensuring proper water elevations, removing trash and debris, monitoring slope instability or erosion, and inspecting all structural components.
Even more critical a time for maintenance takes place during the transition from winter to spring. In areas of frequent freeze-thaw, additional stress is placed on the system’s slopes and vegetation, and as snow melts and turns into runoff, inputs of pollutants are significant due to sand and salt deposits from de-icing practices. Also, plowing activities can have negative structural impacts to storm drain structures in parking lots and roads.
The best approach to stormwater management is to always be proactive. With respect to water quality, this means stopping pollutants before they enter the BMP. A recommended practice can be street sweeping, if done strategically and effectively. Street sweeping should take place throughout the year, on a routine schedule; however, additional attention is needed during the months following winter. Also during this period, inspection of underground proprietary systems is critical. In addition to inspecting the physical condition of the structure, inspection of sediment, trash, and debris volumes in the holding sumps, vaults or tanks is very important. Utilizing sediment measurement tools, such as a “Sludge Judge,” can enhance the inspection of a proprietary system and assist in determining whether or not vacuum (Vactor) truck services are needed.
As spring approaches, and climates permit, it is also an ideal time to make checklists of any non-routine maintenance that need to be addressed as a result of the previous months’ storm events. Included in this checklist could be repairs to catch basin junction boxes, pipes, erosion, and numerous other deficiencies. For more information on stormwater maintenance, feel free to download our white papers at: http://rrstormwater.com/solutions
Senior Project Manager
Restoration and Recovery