What is stormwater and why is it essential to know proper stormwater drainage management?
Roads, driveways and non-absorbent surfaces prevent stormwater from being absorbed into the ground. The portion of water that is not absorbed into the ground is called stormwater runoff. When in motion, this stormwater runoff carries all sorts of pollutants into storm drains, eventually emptying into public waterways, rivers, and oceans. This means everyday pollutants have a direct impact on water quality.
Because water from rain and irrigation carries all sorts of pollutants directly onto streams, rivers and lakes, an essential aspect of stormwater drainage involves managing the quality of the stormwater and ensuring that dangerous chemicals are not haphazardly flushed through these drains. The most significant benefit of effective stormwater management is cleaner surface water which contributes to a healthier environment.
6 Tips for Proper Stormwater Drainage Management
1. Avoid using pesticides in wet or windy weather
When applying pesticides in wet or windy weather, they can drift or move away from the target area or plants and become runoff in the resulting rain. Following the label directions for pesticide application is advisable to avoid runoff. Also, never apply pesticides when it’s raining or about to rain or windy. Sustained winds higher than 13 kph or gusty winds that are variable in direction will cause the chemicals to runoff far beyond the target area and may pollute the water supply.
2. Contain and compost grass clippings and leaves
It is crucial to compost any organic material to prevent them from blocking stormwater drains. Grass clippings, fallen leaves, and other organic material can easily block storm drains, causing flooding on roads and congesting creeks. When large amounts of decomposing leaves and grass clippings are put into streams, this can cause unnaturally high nutrient levels that can harm aquatic wildlife. Also, stagnant water on roadways can create unsafe travel conditions.
3. Be mindful of where you rinse off your equipment
Rinse water from cleaning equipment often contains solvents, metals, and detergents. Dirty rinse water should never be discharged onto the gutter, street, or storm drain. It is best to contact your local municipal government or wastewater treatment plant for guidance on what can or cannot go into the sanitary sewer.
4. Keep salt, soil, sand, and mulch covered
Material covers serve the dual function of protecting your materials and reducing, if not eliminating, stormwater pollution from materials and ensuring that they comply with stormwater regulations. Contaminated stormwater runoff and sedimentary dust from materials stored outdoors can also affect the surrounding environment. An adequate cover will prevent stormwater from running over the exposed materials, getting contaminated, and carrying that polluted water into the storm drains.
5. Regularly inspect and clean storm drains
Routine inspections are advised wherever industrial equipment or materials are stored and are exposed to stormwater. Inspections should be scheduled regularly if there’s a potential for significant environmental harm or if there is a release of pollutants. During the Winter or storm season, you could schedule inspections weekly. For other areas, less frequent inspections may be adequate.
6. Use and maintain a silt fence if disturbing ground cover near a storm drain, pond, stream or creek
A silt fence, also known as a filter fence, is a temporary sediment control device used on construction sites to prevent stormwater runoff from polluting nearby streams, rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water. Construction sites use them often due to their simplicity of design and general effectiveness in controlling sediment if appropriately installed and maintained. Sediment basins, sediment traps, and erosion control are designed to keep sediment in place wherever construction processes (like land grading or other earthworks disturb the soil) and work in tandem with silt fences.
You should view the proper management of your stormwater drainage system as a partnership between you and your community. You should play an active role in keeping the stormwater systems on your property healthy, identifying potential problems that may arise, and supporting necessary clean up and maintenance actions.
If you ever encounter problems with your stormwater drainage system, call Sydney Blocked Drains on 1300 403 201. Our 24-hour drain specialists are ready to help you with emergency clearing and repairs.