Why Stormwater Management Is Important
What Is Stormwater?
As the name suggests, Stormwater is wastewater that is the result of a storm. Stormwater occurs when there is nowhere for the water that results from a storm to go. This is often a by product of urbanisation, as there is a limited amount of natural ways for stormwater to drain away, and once the man made systems are at overcapacity then stormwater can become an issue.
Alongside the potential issues of flooding, there is also an increased likelihood that stormwater pollution will cause wider damage to the environment. Stormwater pollution is when the surface run off that results from a heavy amount of precipitation becomes contaminated. This can include sewage, chemicals and litter. A lot of stormwater pollution is the result of human activity, therefore another argument in favour of stormwater management is the prevention of pollution.
The UK Storm, although not a common occurrence has highlighted the need for a lot of measures to be taken in terms of stormwater management, as the amount of precipitation that fell overloaded the systems in tandem with heavy rain and high seas in coastal areas. The more prepared an area is to deal with excessive stormwater, then the lower the likelihood of having to combat flooding and the pollution that comes with it.
Stormwater Management Techniques
There are a number of methods of implementing preventative stormwater management. One method is the use of underground stormwater tanks. These are large underground vessels which will capture 1000m3 and 500 m3 of stormwater between them. These are being built due to large amounts of continued urbanisation in the area, which results in the need for preventative measures to be taken to avoid any potential flooding.
Other methods that can be used include the use of retention ponds, which trap water and gradually release it into the water system, rather than it all making its way there at once, thus easing the risk of flooding. On a small scale, the use of rain gardens (planted areas in a depression near a source of runoff) can be used to ease the issue of excess stormwater and also do so in an aesthetically pleasing fashion.
The use of soakaways, is another potential method for combating the negative effects of excessive stormwater. These are submerged structures that take in water through gravity and in a similar fashion to a retention pond, gradually release the excess water into the water system.
In terms of urban planning and design, it is important for those involved in the process to take into account the dangers involved with stormwater. When precautionary measures are taken, as is the case in Swindon, then dangers involved with flooding should be avoided, in comparison to a situation in Germany, the Czech Republic and Hungary for instance where not enough precautions were taken and flooding occurred.
For more information about stormwater management, stormwater management products and wastewater management processes; visit GEA today and see what they can do for you!