MANAGEMENT OF STORM WATER

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Storm water administration is an integral part of site planning. Storm water administration aims at addressing the effects caused due to storm water runoff. In urban areas, storm water runoff is a common feature that may additionally have destructive consequences if not right addressed. Site planning is not only important in identifying the quantity and quality of storm water but additionally how best to utilize creative strategies to improving it. Site planning enables site managers to decide how effectively they will utilize the topology of the land to minimize storm water runoff. Storm water runoff is a principal contributor to pollution. This is mostly the case in urban areas where runoff is inclined to contaminants as petroleum products, metal, road salt, sediments and bacteria among others. If the runoff is untreated, it may threaten aquatic and animal life.

As much as storm water management is important, it also has its negative side. Among its disadvantages is time wastage. Due to its complex nature that involves numerous variables, the site planning process wastes time that would have been otherwise used in the implementation process. The procedures involved in site planning may also prove to be tedious for example submitting site plans to concerned parties for approval. In addition, it may be expensive maintain storm management features (Hoffman, 2016). The recommendations to improving storm water management in site planning are, to try as much as possible to mimic the natural environment since the overall aim is to conserve as much water as possible by facilitating the hydrologic cycle. Storm water treatment is also another important recommendation. Finally, understanding laws and policies regarding storm water management are beneficial in the process of site planning.

Introduction

Storm water management is playing a critical role in ensuring sustainable development. Sustainable development has to do with catering to the present needs of the population with needs of future generations in mind. It involves ensuring that there is a balance in fulfilling these needs while caring for the environment, most importantly water. Water is one of the most important natural resources that is available to man. In fact, a large proportion of the earth is water yet a significant number of people around the world are unable to access clean water. Storm water management is capable of addressing this problem. Storm water management plays a significant role in the conservation of water by facilitating the hydrologic cycle. The field advocates for policies to ensure that building and construction work adheres to the set regulations that harness storm-water management principles and practices.

Purpose

The purpose of Storm water management is to collect and conserve water from rain or melting snow. It ensures that storm water quality does not degrade by decreasing the number of pollutants in its path. Storm-water management is also essential in the control of soil erosion, pollution, and reducing the risk of flooding (Beat, 2014). In urban areas, lack of proper storm-water management practices may not only have direct consequences as flooding of parking lots and road but can be hazardous. The very setting of urban areas makes it easier for water contamination due to the numerous number of pollutants present in these areas. If neglected, the water can make its way to water catchment areas as rivers threatening aquatic life. The same case applies to rural areas where pesticides are commonly used.

It has become evidently clear that traditional storm water management is not applicable in modern times. Storm management in the past aimed at draining storm water as fast as possible in turn creating more problems than solutions. Due to the high risk associated with uncontrolled storm water, most urban municipalities have made it mandatory for construction sites to incorporate ways to manage storm water (Pazwash, 2011). These urban municipalities have developed requirements that construction sites must adhere to before and during the construction project process. Before the project can begin, the responsible parties are required to produce a site plan detailing how the project will affect the quality of water and the measures that are in place to ensure conservation.

Background

The effects of storm water are not a new phenomenon neither is it pleasant. Unmanaged storm water can be dangerous to a population leading to serious losses and at times loss of lives. The effects of storm water are much common in urban areas compared to rural areas. In addition, the storm water in urban areas is more vulnerable to pollution. The traditional building methodologies are to blame for the effects of storm water, as their storm water management design has fallen short of addressing the problem. The traditional approach involved channeling storm water into storm sewer pipes then back to streams and rivers without treatment. This threatens aquatic life as well as the population living around the beaches (Walsh, Fletcher, & Burns, 2012). The modern storm-water management practice uses a new approach to address the problem of storm water. Instead of channeling storm water directly into sewer lines, the new approach aims at conservation of water by facilitating and enhancing the hydrologic process. This method has proven effective in reduction of erosion and improvement of storm water quality.

In ensuring effective storm water management, site planning is key. The benefits of site plans are that they are dynamic. Site planning facilitates for the accommodation of decisions without inquiring significant costs. Issues that relate to storm water management as county regulations, soil type, soil depth, groundwater, and slope become easy to address and tackle. Moreover, there is the consideration of the topology of the land figuring how best to utilize it. Various components need to be in place to facilitate effective conservation of water, for example, rainwater tanks, gutters, and pipes among others. A site plan enables one to allocate convenient and adequate space for this equipment.

Analysis

In a natural setting, there is over 90% of storm water conservation through soil absorption or evaporation. Only a small fraction of storm water makes it to rivers and streams. Urban areas, on the other hand, county government spend millions of dollars solving the issues created by storm water. Its effects are not limited to destruction of property, sediment deposits, damage of waterways and destruction of ecological systems that require resources to repair. In addition, storm water is the highest rated environmental pollutant. The pollutants in storm water include nutrients, sediments, bacteria, petroleum products, road salt, and metals. Pollution spread even further as these pollutants from storm water get to water catchment areas as rivers.

Site planning can act as a yardstick to measure the extent of storm water on a given site. Since sites mostly deal with the construction of structures that create a significant change to the topology of the land. Roads and building are among the contributing factors that make the soil less permeable increasing storm water runoff and decreasing ground flow water. The construction of structures also requires the removal of vegetation cover. This increases soil erosion and the velocity of storm water runoff hence spread of pollution. In addition, construction sites cover up wetlands and ponds to pave way for development of structures. Leveling the ground is part of the construction process increasing the risk of flooding.

Storm-water management principles, when applied to a site, are more beneficial in terms of environmental friendliness and cost reduction. It becomes easier to collect and treat water that is useful in cleaning, irrigation, and drinking among others. Storm water management is important in ensuring that the structures developed are free from harm attributed to surface run-off. The cost that is associated with surface run-off as damages to infrastructure, sediment deposits and pollution to existing water areas significantly reduces. In addition, the overall layout is attractive and provides ample ground for recreational activities.

The downside to storm water management is time wastage in site planning process. There is consideration of various aspects involving the topology of the land that wastes valuable time used in the actual work (Barałkiewicz et al., 2014). The site planner utilizes most of his time in trying to accommodate the requirements of the practice into action, which at times is not easy. At times, the site planner needs to deal with long procedures as submitting the site plan to the authorities for approval and applying for a permit. The other disadvantage attributed to storm water management is that it may be expensive in implementing the site plan. Since there are various variables to consider in the construction process, this translates to numerous tasks that require laborers. Furthermore, structures created using this method require constant maintenance that may prove to be expensive.

Recommendation

The best possible solution that is applicable in the conservation of storm water is mimicking close as possible the environment natural setting in creating site plans. The natural environment easily manages storm water through a natural process. The terrain and vegetation cover ensures that most of the storm water either is absorbed or evaporates with minimal contamination. This natural process is much more difficult in relation to urban areas. Surfaces in urban areas are the rigid hindering absorption of storm water. Furthermore, urban areas have minimal coverage of vegetation as a resort; storm water easily gets contaminated affecting water catchment areas. Developing better site plans with storm management capabilities will go a long way in the conservation processes. Site plans should as much as possible try to replicate the natural environment setting. This is possible by ensuring adequate vegetation cover as the incorporation of the garden (LaGro, 2013). In additions, sites should minimize the presence of rigid surface to allow absorption of storm water.

The inclusion of storm water treatment processes is also important in developing site plans. Rainwater that passes through rooftops is easily manageable by use of rainwater tanks. If included in site plans, rainwater tanks have a large probability of reducing the strain that storm water causes. These tanks are essential as they ensure that water from rooftops is positively utilized in turn reducing flooding and erosion (Cahill, 2012). Therefore, it is essential to ensure that proper design of rooftops and drainpipes guarantee maximum collection of rainwater. Wetlands and sediment basins can be useful in addition to rainwater tanks. Wetland and sediment basins ensure management of water that is not collectible by rainwater tanks. They are important in ensuring that storm water does not flood and cause erosion.

Effective Storm water management is greatly dependent on a good site plan. In developing site plans, it is paramount to first, understand the laws and policies that are in place in relation to storm water management. Different local governments have different procedures and requirement that a site should accomplish before construction may commence. This means the one will be required to consult with the involved stakeholders to familiarize themselves with the licenses and permits required. In addition, knowledge of hydrologic concepts is vital. This is important as it enables one to identify protected areas and features essential for storm water management. These features may include identifying existing wetlands, ground covers, and riparian areas, which will go a long way in reducing construction cost. It is also important to identify impervious areas and ensure that they are not located close to contaminants.

Conclusion

Site planning is an integral part of storm water management. Site planning enables planners to gather and analyze data related to a specific site and determine how best to incorporate storm water management. Storm water management on its part tries to address challenges associated with snow or rain runoff (Walsh, Fletcher, & Burns, 2012). Modern storm water management processes differ from traditional methods. Traditional methods sort ways to, quickly eliminate water runoff by building storm sewer to absorb water runoff. This method was determined to be ineffective as it only ensured much pollution. In addition, the method was expensive as it allowed transportation of sediment leading to blockages and eventually flooding. Modern methods aim to address the challenges by ensuring that there is maximum conservation of storm water. This is possible through the use of rainwater tanks for harvesting rainwater, growing cover vegetation to reduce erosion, and use of wetlands to facilitate filtration.

References

Barałkiewicz, D., Chudzińska, M., Szpakowska, B., Świerk, D., Gołdyn, R., & Dondajewska, R. (2014). Storm water contamination and its effect on the quality of urban surface waters. Environmental Monitoring And Assessment, 186(10), 6789-6803. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10661-014-3889-0

Beat, S. (2014). Stormwater Management | SSWM. Sswm.info. Retrieved 29 January 2017, from http://www.sswm.info/content/stormwater-management

Cahill, T. (2012). Low impact development and sustainable stormwater management (1st ed.). Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley.

Hoffman, A. (2016). The Most Common Storm Water Management Problems and How to Solve Them. Godfreyhoffman.com. Retrieved 29 January 2017, from http://www.godfreyhoffman.com/blog/the-most-common-storm-water-management-problems-and-how-to-solve-them

LaGro, J. (2013). Site analysis (1st ed.). Hoboken: Wiley.

Pazwash, H. (2011). Urban storm water management (1st ed.). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Walsh, C., Fletcher, T., & Burns, M. (2012). Urban Stormwater Runoff: A New Class of Environmental Flow Problem. plos. Retrieved 29 January 2017, from http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0045814

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