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  • Writer's pictureMills, Short & Associates Engineering

Why is Stormwater Design So Important for Construction Projects?

As industries become more and more accountable to do environmental efforts, the construction industry in particular becomes a critical participant in the issue of stormwater runoff. Awareness and policies to curb environmental damage should be a priority for the construction industry as they can fundamentally protect soil from erosion and sedimentation there by protecting our rivers, lakes, and even oceans.

Stormwater, as the name suggests, is water that flows over land due to extreme weather conditions like storms. Through management practices and policies, stormwater needs to be handled as it carries pollutants like sediment, debris, and chemicals with it. It can also disrupt aquatic habitats and cause erosion of river/stream banks. On construction sites, it can carry muddy water, waste, debris, and chemicals into local water bodies.

Stormwater construction or design aims at diverting the flow of this stormwater as no control of it can result in loss of sub-ecosystems and cause a financial loss for the site by inviting penalties and delaying work. As stormwater can destroy vegetation, cause drains to choke up with sediment, and cause erosion - having a stormwater construction in place helps to safeguard that as well.

How can you plan to prevent stormwater runoff?

A Best Management Practice (BMP) is a popular method to control and even prevent stormwater runoff. Here are a few steps to ensure that there is effective implementation so construction projects don’t face delay, penalties, and hence financial and personnel loss.

1. Site Inspection and Assessments

Before we design a stormwater plan, the nature of construction should be clear and a site inspection which involves making a site map and marking natural elements that need protection. Next, the potential impact of stormwater runoff by calculating approximate runoff amounts, velocities and figure out drainage points needs to be calculated.

2. Designing Controls and Plans

One of the most crucial steps to prevent and control stormwater is to design a management and maintenance plan. For that, one first needs to take a look at the state requirements and thereby determine controls of soil erosion, sediment, and stormwater management. A starting point for designing a plan is to indicate the location of control and have a maintenance plan that coordinates controls with the construction activity that will happen.

3. Permits and Certification

Stormwater runoff is an environmental hazard and hence there are certifications and permits a construction project needs to get for their stormwater plan in order to continue with their work. Once a design / plan has been developed, a permit application needs to be submitted so the work can go on.

4. Execution and Management

On getting the permit, a construction plan can continue while it meets the requirements of the permit. If there are changes on the site, the plan might need to be updated. In terms of execution of the BMPs, the erosion and sediment control needs to be regularly maintained to ensure proper implementation.

5. Notifying Termination and Stabilization

Depending on state and local requirements, a termination of a construction project might need to be notified in order to make sure that a plan has been made for a final stabilization.

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Areas of Focus Include:

Civil & Structural Engineering | Land Development and Planning | Land Surveying & Mapping | SBA Phase 1 Environmental


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