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Imagine: An Effective, Low Maintenance Stormwater System

January 30th, 2014 by Eileen Pannetier

Hard to picture, isn’t it? Some systems are effective, but hardly low maintenance. Those that are low maintenance are usually that way because they fail, clog and bypass, unseen, unknown, unloved. Out of sight, out of mind may be fine for some, but most of us want to spend limited funds on something that will last and work well without a lot of babysitting. To wit are our guidelines for designing low maintenance stormwater best management practices (BMPs) you’ll love, okay, like anyway.

4 Simple Guidelines for a more effective, lower maintenance stormwater BMP.

1. Pretreatment – Truly the low hanging fruit of BMP design. Add in a forebay or other pretreatment unit, especially one that’s visible for maintenance, and you are on your way to extending the life of your BMP.

2. Sizing for Low Maintenance – Like they always say, size does matter. At least in BMPs and if your process is too small for the flow the collected sediment will just scour out in the next storm it will need constant upkeep. We recommend that the pretreatment be sized to contain a year’s worth of sediment.

3. Use Standard Materials – Use standard construction materials to cut costs up front like oversized manholes instead of a custom pour, and try to combine sites into projects that are worth bidding. One small raingarden or biofilter will cost a lot more per unit than if you put together a project of multiples on different sites if necessary. Maybe more complicated to set up but less so in the long run.

4. Treatment Trains – Consider making a series of treatment units that address more than one problem, rather than a one size fits all unit that only does one thing. This will improve the effectiveness of the maintenance that is needed.

More on these steps in future blogs.


Posted in the category Stormwater.