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Tech Updates : How to Design a Stormwater Drainage System

After a snow melt or a rainstorm, what happens to all the water? Cities and neighborhoods employ a variety of techniques for stormwater management. Even now, the technology of this industry continues to advance to ensure that water will flow to the right place at the right time. Before the 1980s, no one paid much attention to stormwater treatment solutions because the greatest challenge before that period was managing the quantity of the water and redirecting it during and after a major storm.

At that time, the common strategy meant the creation of dry stormwater ponds that were used near baseball diamonds, parks and soccer fields across the country. The rules and regulations concerning water quality control and environmental protection have always been legislated, and we have seen a wide variety of different techniques that were invented in communities. After a while, the focus on stormwater management shifted to better water quality, and one of the most visible tools that we use is known as a stormwater pond. They might look like a natural space, but they collect, retain and treat the stormwater of the area.


Municipalities have a responsibility to maintaining these water runoff methods, but the maintenance in itself can pose a challenge and high expense to communities. Since this time, engineers have searched for better methods and environmental scientists have been seeking alternative designs that will collect, treat and move the storm water after the snow melts or a rainstorm occurs.

LID Technology

One of the alternatives to storm water collection is known as LID or low impact development. This method uses technologies and techniques that help to harvest and filter the stormwater. LID technology has the advantage of accessibility where you can use it on both public and private properties. If you are seeking to achieve sustainable targets, LID can help while maximizing the usage of the land.

Rain Gardens

Installing a rain garden in your yard can reduce the flood levels, and it will have an impact on the effects of water pollution. Rain gardens also have the benefit of adding beauty to your property while attracting the local wildlife. To create a rain garden, you will normally place the garden near the lowest point of your lawn. A rain garden has layered soil types with plants in the area, and that helps to retain the water without creating open water or a pond. Before starting with any of the storm water treatment solutions, however, proper planning will push the progress a lot further than a poorly planned project. Plants and soils also break down the harmful pollutants in our ground water, so it has a purifying effect at the same time.

Storm Drains

Storm drains have proven an invaluable tool for lowering the local flooding on the streets and housing units, but you should always make certain that the storm drains do not have trash or other pollutants that clog the drain. You can stencil the storm drain to help it remain free of debris. A lot of storm drains lead to a body of water, but the problem with that is that trash in the drain will be carried straight to the river, lake or ocean. When you keep the storm drains clean, it not only increases its effectiveness, it reduces the amount of pollution in your storm drain.

Picking up Pet Waste

While not directly associated with flooding and this will have no impact on flooding, picking up pet waste does help to reduce the nutrient pollution in your drinking water. When dogs and other animals leave waste, it can create the potential for human problems because of viruses, parasites and E. coli. Water will automatically drain downhill for the lowest point. While one family might do everything correctly, if you have neighbors uphill who do not have a design asset management for storm water, you will be inundated with water in your yard that can damage your lawn. You have to work together as a community to control storm water because it will have an impact on more than one family—it will affect everyone in the community.

Rain Barrels

One of the most simple methods that a community can utilize against storm floods is to install rain barrels around the property. Another stormwater management model, a rain barrel is a simple device that will connect to your gutters, and it will hold the rain water instead of allowing it to drown your grass and run across the street. Your average rain barrel will hold up to 50 gallons of water, and you can connect them in a series so that they have the ability to store twice as much.

Harvesting rainwater in barrels has other advantages because you are taking the water held in the barrels, and you can water your garden or wash your car with it. Because you are using rainwater, it does not cost you a dime, and your water bill will not go through the roof. That in itself can be a reason to take advantage of rain barrels.

Hopefully this stormwater drainage manual has given you some ideas on how you can utilize and manage storm water. Reducing the flooding across your lawn will lead to a more beautiful and vibrant-colored lawn. You want to use as little fertilizer and pesticides on your lawn as possible because wherever the stormwater runs off, it will pick up the pollutants and contribute to further pollution.



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NRDC: Stormwater Strategies - Chapter 12. 2016. NRDC: Stormwater Strategies - Chapter 12. [ONLINE] Available at: http:// www. [Accessed 07 March 2016].

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