Storm Water Management

Posted: October 17th, 2013


Storm Water Management







1. Introduction

1.1. What is Storm Management?

1.2. How does it occur?

1.3 Why it is important to the environment?
2. Body

Measures that are used in Storm Water Management

2.1. Low Impact Development

2.2. Green Infrastructure

2.3 Sustainable Site Design

2.4 Environmental Site Design

2.5 Minimization of Pollutants in the Runoff

2.6 The Use of Structural Soils and Trees

3. Conclusion

4. References


Storm Water Management

Storm water is formed when rainwater and snowmelts, but the water is not absorbed into the soil but remains in the atmosphere. This is because of roads, rooftops, driveways and several other surfaces prevent the water from being absorbed or reaching the ground. As a result, the volume and speed of the runoff water increases the water found on earth’s surface. This occurrence happens every time it rains and increases if it is left unchecked. The flow of this water causes flooding, soil erosion and destruction of creatures’ habitats in the rivers and streams. How big the additional drainage region is, how the area of land inclines, the types of soils, and vegetation on a piece of land all affect how water drains. The Environment Protection Agency clearly states that municipalities that are affected by storm water get permits for the discharges that are got from it. This is in order to decrease the effects of runoffs on the urban surfaces and so that people can do their best to preserve the environment.

This and other approaches have been adopted so that the environment can be conserved. Other measures are discussed in this paper (United States 1993).

Low Impact Development

This is an approach for managing the storm water, by using decentralized and distributed micro-scale controls. The goal of this approach is to maintain the runoff around its source. The land surrounding the affected area is developed or redeveloped. It achieves this by using techniques such as evaporation, storage and filtration preserving and recreating natural landscape features, infiltration, minimizing effectual invulnerability to make useful and appealing site drainage with the intention of treating storm water as a reserve instead of a desecrate product. This is to say that the approach deals with the water in small scales, instead of waiting until it accumulates then treating it where it drains. The practices used ensure that the natural features of the drainage systems are maintained. When used well, it can restore a watershed’s hydrological role. It is highly encouraged as it can be applied in many developed areas, redeveloping areas and as a booster to other methods (Urbonas, Stahre, P., & Stahre, 1993).

Green Infrastructure

            This concept originated from the United States other countries have since adopted it because of its success rate. The method emphasizes on how important it is to think about the natural environment when making decisions about land use. It incorporates the use of green infrastructures in the natural systems that capture the storm water, cleanse and reduce it with microbes, plants and soils. Green infrastructure is made of networks of open and natural areas, which improve the quality of water, while at the same time provides island benefits, air quality, opportunities of recreation, wildlife habitat and other benefits of the community. The green infrastructure is made up of management practices for the site that sustain hydrologic functions that are natural, through the absorption and infiltration of precipitation at the areas where it settles. The concept can be expanded to multifunction green infrastructure where more activities can be incorporated on the same piece of land as long as it helps lower the effects of storm water. An example is of the Chicago urban forest where the city of Chicago is benefiting from the trees through heat wave reduction and purified air.

Sustainable site Design

            This method is used together with low impact development. Landscape architects and site designers can incorporate the use of better methods of conserving the environment when coming up with new building designs. Campaigning for a regenerative plan when building landscapes, maintains and restore important ecological functions. Doing this will make the design process for new and redeveloped sites that not only minimizes damage to the environment but also actively helps to repair it. Therefore, building structures that take into consideration the environmental conservation is a growing trend as more governments are encouraging this. The concept of going green when embraced by construction companies makes both the company and the environment benefactors (Venhaus 2012).

Environmental Site Design (ESD)

This is whereby measures are employed on small-scale they include; storm water management are observed, better site planning and nonstructural techniques to imitate normal hydrologic runoff features and reduce the effects of land development on water resources. This approach can also be said to seek to emulate natural systems follow the flow path of the storm water, by applying design principles in the site of the development. Its goal is to form a system that copies water quality and natural hydrology. The Environment Site Design practices are applied in the construction process and kept for the future as a natural system that would need low maintenance. Each practice decreases the amount of storm water, as it goes to the stream, therefore maintaining a low requirement of infrastructure needed to control the storm water. The ESD practices consist of natural areas preservation, minimizing the disturbance of land, treating storm water by using areas that are vegetated, providing lower ratios of parking and the use of conservation design. This method incorporates other methods such as low impact development, better site design, green infrastructure and sustainable site design (Zevenbergen, 2011).

Minimization of Pollutants in the Runoff

Pollution of the environment also plays a major role in how water is drained. This is because they act as a hindrance. The effects of storm water can be reduced by keeping materials and chemicals that would be harmful to the water from the runoff. The runoff should be kept free of any pollutants such as oil stains and several other automotive fluids, which can be carried away easily by rainwater. Store chemicals in waterproof containers and keep them away from runoff areas. Chemicals should be mixed in contained areas where spillages onto the runoffs would be avoided. When applying chemicals such as fertilizers, apply just what will be enough, in order to avoid excess chemicals from being washed away by the storm water. The chemicals should also be applied when there are no signs of coming rain in order to avoid waste, as they can be easily washed away.

Road salts and de-icing products should be used in little amounts, since high concentrations of these chemicals can be harmful plants and animals. The salts are washed off the roads and pavements by storm water and carried into the natural systems. If used in great quantities, the excess should be cleaned up. Other alternatives such as kitty litter should also be considered, as they are less toxic. Animal droppings or manure should be kept from the runoff. They should be flushed in the toilet if they are not mixed with other materials or wrapped and disposed in the garbage.

The Use of Structural Soils and Trees

            Due to increased urbanization, deforestation has taken place at alarming rates to cater for the urban centers. It is because of this that soil structures and vegetative cover can no longer decrease storm water runoff. This is a drawback, as groundwater becomes less affecting water quality and damaging aquatic habitats. Thus, another method for storm water management is to employ the use of structural soils and trees. This top vegetation is used to guide the rainwater to water catchments areas. Trees are grown in strategic places so that the water is absorbed into the ground. Structural soils can also be used in areas where vegetation does not grow easily. These are soils that are beneath runoff areas cannot support the life of living organisms such as plants. This is because roots cannot pass through such soils since they are too strong. These soils in the runoffs are used for supporting the weight from the vehicles and meet other engineering needs. This method has been adopted in many areas especially when one also wants to conserve soil nutrients (Parzwash, 2011).


It is because of employing storm management techniques; the environment is able to be benefit from these methods. More countries have adopted the concept of going green and offer incentives to companies and firms that adopt this initiative. Storm water management is thus important as it helps human beings avoid natural calamities such as floods and landslides. At the end of the day, the people who benefit when the environment is safeguarded are the living things. Since human beings are at the top of the totem pole, it is their responsibility to ensure that the environment is not degraded. They should always seek to find more ways to manage storm water.



















Venhaus, H. (2012). Designing the sustainable site: Integrated design strategies for small-scale sites and residential landscapes. Hoboken, N.J: John Wiley & Sons

United States. (1993). Storm water management and technology. Park Ridge, N.J., U.S.A: Noyes Data Corp.

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

Zevenbergen, C. (2011). Urban flood management. Boca Raton: CRC Press.


Urbonas, B., Stahre, P., & Stahre, P. (1993). Storm water: Best management practices and detention for water quality, drainage, and CSO management. Englewood Cliffs, N.J: PTR Prentice Hall.

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