April 22nd, 2019 by Katrina Engelsted
Many have wondered what stormwater management is, as the term may be used in the news and local civil projects. Stormwater can refer to either rainwater or water that comes from melting snow. There are a few fundamental ways that the earth itself manages stormwater. In general, the water will:
- Soak into the soil
- Remain on the surface and evaporate
- Runoff and find its way in a stream, river, or another body of water
Stormwater management is the control and use of the stormwater runoff that occurs when weather events happen. Some of the different elements involved in stormwater management include:
- Planning for runoff and grading properly to control it
- Maintaining stormwater systems
- Collecting stormwater
- Regulating and monitoring collection, storage, and movement of stormwater
- Installing and managing drainage solutions in specific areas
Today, green infrastructure is also becoming common, using things like bioretention gardens, rain gardens, constructed wetlands, and more to add natural beauty and animal habitats back to developed areas.
Regardless of what form it takes, effective stormwater management is vital anywhere that development of any kind occurs, and it is an integral part of residential planning, commercial lots, and even industrial installations.
Why is Stormwater Management Important?
The importance of stormwater management is often seen after problems occur. Failure to properly account for and manage stormwater can lead to a wide range of issues including:
- Habitat destruction
- Sewer system overflow
- Infrastructure damage
- Contamination of streams, rivers, and coastal waters
- Safety issues
By implementing proper stormwater management, it is possible to save money and reduce the risk of damage to property or interruption of operations. Even on a jobsite that is in construction, poor stormwater management can lead to a halt of progress and other issues. In fact, recent studies have found that the improvement of water quality and the reduced infrastructure costs that stormwater management can provide can reach more than $650 million annually.
Additionally, the implementation of green infrastructure solutions can increase property value and add an aesthetic appeal to the location. Some solutions can even recycle the stormwater that is collected, putting it to use on the property in various ways. The bottom line is that stormwater management is a must for maintaining any property of any kind.
Stormwater BMPs (Best Management Practices) includes six minimum control measures that are laid out by the EPA. Following these stormwater BMPs can help provide the best possible results for any development or property. They are:
- Public education
- Public involvement
- Illicit discharge detection and elimination
- Post-construction monitoring and maintenance
- Pollution prevention
Each of these aspects of stormwater management must be followed to get the best outcome. For example, proper design and construction of drainage, collection, and other stormwater management elements will only do so much if those in the area are continually littering, applying lawn chemicals, or taking other steps to worsen the problem.
As such, it is essential to create stormwater management solutions that include each of the stormwater BMPs. And when it comes to planning, design, and monitoring of stormwater management, one thing that deserves consideration is the use of drones to help with the entire process.
Stormwater Management with Drones
The use of drones can play a significant role in stormwater management solutions. Drones can deliver high resolution; detailed images to users and can make it much easier to create detailed plans.
Using the right drone software, it is possible to accurately chart things like potential stormwater sources, drainage, and slope issues, potential collection points, and more. By using the images captured by drones, developers and property managers can create plans that adapt all of the EPA guidelines and federal regulations for stormwater BMPs.
Additionally, drones allow for real-time monitoring. During periods of heavy stormwater, drones enable users to quickly get images of the property and surrounding area, which can be used to spot problems or identify better strategies or needs for management of stormwater.
The benefits of completing stormwater management with drones are numerous and include:
- Better aerial images with 3D mapping, grading, and other options available
- More affordable than other types of map development
- Better accuracy during the planning phase
- Ability to consistently monitor regions during and after storms
- Remotely monitor areas without having to travel onsite, saving additional costs
By investing in drones and the right drone imaging software, it’s possible to create a detailed blueprint for successfully dealing with stormwater and ensuring that your property is protected. They can be one of the single most important tools for use when ensuring that all BMPs are being met. Solspec offers stormwater management solutions, utilizing drone imaging, analytics, and visualization tools. We welcome you to check out our solutions on our company website.