“In February 2000 the Northern Virginia Planning District Commission issued a report to owners and operators of stormwater best management practices (BMPs), urging them to properly maintain their systems. According to the report, “Over half of BMPs fail in the first five years due to lack of proper maintenance.” For those who have just invested in constructing a BMP to manage stormwater, this statement alone should compel them to action”.
BMPs can be structural, vegetative, or proprietary practices used to treat, prevent, or reduce water pollution. BMPs need to be regularly maintained to ensure effective management of stormwater and each BMP has its requirements for maintenance. All BMPs have a risk of operative failure without proper maintenance. The frequency of BMP maintenance is determined through regular observations, and it depends on the actual rate at which pollutants are removed from the, and the ability of the BMP to treat them.
Routine maintenance includes regular observations of and upkeep of BMPs such as managing vegetation and removing trash or debris. Non-routine maintenance can include system repair, removing and/or planting vegetation, removing sediment, or repairing erosion. Specific maintenance and scheduling are regulated by each respective State and are outlined in their Stormwater regulations manual. When we are providing stormwater management for a project we will prepare the O&M maintenance plan and schedule according to the requirements for your State.
The costs of maintenance are relative to the size and type of system but for a standard BMP, the annual maintenance costs are low compared to the cost of system repair/replacement and/or assessed fines. And it’s not just the financial ramifications of replacement but potential environmental impacts as well.
Often the O&M does not get passed on to the Property Management company or new owner. A recent case in point was a national multi-family client of ours who bought a new asset. The property had a large swath of porous pavement in the parking lot that the client was not aware required annual maintenance. Lack of maintenance over several years resulted in repeated flooding events. By the time the issue was remedied, the client had spent over $50,000 on mitigation and repair.
This doesn’t have to happen to you. The A&M team can provide observations and analysis of the as-built condition of your existing systems. We can evaluate how sediment is accumulating in catch basins and other system components, make recommendations for maintenance schedules, and identify future observation needs. We can also support future maintenance operations by making recommendations to improve the function of built BMPs as well as create maintenance schedules to ensure optimal performance.
Want to know if your stormwater system is up to code? Call or email us for a stormwater system evaluation.