Sustainable Frederick: The changing face of stormwater management areas - Storm Water Jobs


Sustainable Frederick: The changing face of stormwater management areas

News Date
5/19/2017
Date Posted
5/19/2017

Description

MARYLAND -- Maryland started requiring new development to have stormwater management, like these ponds, back in the mid-’80s. The ponds from back then were designed for water quantity — to hold the peak volume of stormwater, reduce flooding, and prevent erosion to streams and rivers. Over time, stormwater management got more sophisticated. In 2002, Maryland started to require that stormwater facilities also treat for water quality by filtering out pollutants. So some ponds have water quality and some don’t, and areas built before the mid-’80s might have no stormwater management at all. Since 2007, Maryland has been trying to back away from ponds. The philosophy now is to treat the stormwater closer to the source of the rain. Newer development might have a vegetated wetland with microdetention pools for water quality. Or it might have an area behind a few homes where there’s grass swales and bioretention. Bioretention looks like landscaping but allows water to filter in and get treated for pollution. Regardless of the level of treatment stormwater gets from these facilities, it doesn’t go into the sanitary sewer. That means stormwater goes directly into the stream. That’s why we ask everyone to do things like collect their pet waste and not dump anything nasty, like motor oil or grease, into storm drains. “Only rain down the drain.” My office has a program to retrofit dozens of old ponds all over the county. One project we recently finished was in Englandtowne, where we partnered with the divisions of Public Works and Parks and Recreation. This project retrofitted a regional pond from the ’80s with water quality treatment and added something called a forebay. A forebay is a pooling area at the entrance to a facility that is designed to rapidly slow down storm flows. The forebay lets sediment and debris drop out before the water gets into the main part of the facility that stores water and filters out pollution. That way you maintain the forebay more often and the main pond much less often. These redesigns safe money on maintenance. The Frederick County government has a stormwater retrofit program to comply with requirements of the Clean Water Act. Many of our streams are impaired by excess phosphorus, sediment and E. coli bacteria, and by increased storm flows and temperatures from urban runoff. Pond retrofits and other stormwater projects help to correct for the sins of the past. Stormwater management has improved a lot in the past few decades. But I still have to ask, what can we do now so that people in the future don’t have to correct for OUR mistakes? Shannon Moore is the manager of Frederick County’s Government Office of Sustainability and Environmental Resources. She looks for ways for people to save energy, save money, and live greener.

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