The Importance of Stormwater Management

Do you often see black plastic fencing alongside construction equipment or long hay bales outside of storm drains and wonder what this is? What is it helping? What is its purpose? Take a look around the DFC and you are bound to notice these objects strategically located around construction sites.

While often this equipment may not look like it’s doing a whole lot, it serves a very important and specific purpose for those who are concerned with water quality, the quality of the land, and the construction project as a whole.

Stormwater Management is an important aspect to any construction project, one which if complied with, creates little impact. But if stormwater practices are not implemented correctly, the consequences can be significant and costly to the owner and contractor.

For example, consider the Downing Reservoir project currently underway on the eastern side of the DFC along Kipling. The vegetation has been removed to allow large construction vehicles onto the space to perform the necessary work. Without proper stormwater practices in place, the lack of vegetation along with stormwater can create severe erosion, which leaves areas vulnerable for water to move topsoil and deposit it in areas downstream. Erosion degrades the construction site by producing gullies and other problems that are expensive to correct.

Erosion is managed and decreased at the Downing Reservoir project by implementing best management practices that are best suited for that situation. Installing silt fences, swales, and straw bales slows the flow of water that can cause damage to the property. It is important to look at stormwater best management practices as a holistic system that works together to control erosion. Understanding how water runs across property is also key to determining what tools to use to manage erosion.

Another key component to stormwater management that has been implemented at the Downing Reservoir project includes keeping water quality clean and disposing of hazardous materials in a responsible manner. Pollution can be worsened due to stormwater if hazardous materials such as oil, antifreeze, fertilizers, or concrete are not properly disposed of and get into our waterways due to heavy rainwater runoff. Improperly disposing of hazardous materials can result in these pollutants going into our storm drains which leads directly to our waterways and drinking water supplies. Contractors must be sure to recycle any leftover paint, antifreeze, and other materials. Construction waste is also disposed of correctly and does not end up going down a storm drain.

For more information on stormwater and what you can do at your home, watch the educational video “H2O Jo Takes a Ride Through the Storm Drain.”

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