With rainy season just around the corner here in BC, it's a good time to take a look at stormwater; What it is, its dangers and solutions.
What is Stormwater?
Stormwater is a term that refers to rainwater or melted snow that makes it onto streets, lawns and other sites. It generally indicates a larger amount of water than your typical rainy day, with potential to cause damage to infrastructure and the environment.
If stormwater can slowly be absorbed into soil, it is naturally filtered and eventually joins the rest of the ground water. Issues occur when stormwater is not able to reach and absorb into soil, or when there is too much water and erodes the soil.
Dangers of Stormwater
If stormwater can not reach soil (commonly due to non-impervious surfaces such as pavement and roofs), it begins to run rapidly into storm drains, sewer systems and drainage systems. If not properly handled, stormwater can cause:
• Downstream flooding
• Stream bank erosion
• Increased turbidity (muddiness created by stirred up sediment) from erosion
• Habitat destruction
• Combined storm and sanitary sewer system overflows
• Infrastructure damage
• Contaminated streams, rivers and coastal water
The Role of Stormwater Management
Stormwater management has a couple of key goals no matter the system you are employing:
• Control flooding and erosion.
• control of hazardous materials.
• Capture and hold stormwater in a "detention" tank.
• Prevent large volumes of rainwater from entering the sewers system all at once.
• In some cases: filter out debris from stormwater.
• Release water at a specified rate to either soil and eventually ground water, or storm drains.
There is the additional benefit that many modern detention tanks can re-use rainwater for applications such as lawn irrigation, flushing and laundry.
Stormwater systems are often overlooked in our day-to-day activities, specially since we are used to a heavy rain season. Learning about these systems is the first step to being aware of how we can increase our water supply and rely less on fresh water bodies such as lakes and rivers.
With how much water our population regularly uses, its incredibly important to look at alternatives for re-using water.
If you would like to see how BARR is contributing to the management of stormwater click the button below: