St. Louis Bioretention

Stormwater runoff is serious business.  Rain can wash trash and other contaminants into the sewer systems and waterways, polluting them. If your property has parking lots and structures, the St. Louis Sewer district mandates that you follow best management practices to filter and infiltrate stormwater runoff, mitigating the damage to the environment.  

Bioretention areas are designed to evenly distribute water runoff while filtering out pollutants naturally.   They are made by creating a depressed area that uses gravel, sand, soil, and plants that will collect the water and filter it.  

Easy as pie.

Maybe if that pie is a complex system consisting of 4” underdrain perforated pipe, 10”-18” of natural gravel, 30” of planting soil, and a 2:1 slope.  

Many vendors claim they are bioretention specialists but are they really?  Before you hire a landscape professional to undertake a bioretention project or maintain one that you already have, ask yourself these questions:


Is my vendor trained in bioretention?

Your landscape contractor should be certified in bioretention installation and maintenance to give you confidence that your property will be, and remain, in compliance with stormwater runoff practices.  You can be cited for not having a bioretention area or for not properly maintaining it, and certified bioretention specialists will ensure that this doesn’t happen.  

Does my vendor have crews trained in the difference between native plants and weeds?

Native plants have much longer root systems than non-native plants and weeds and these long roots aid in water filtration and will thrive in their natural habitat.  When installing and maintaining a bioretention area, it’s essential to have a plant expert who knows exactly which plants will provide function as well as interest.  Do you use salt on your parking lot?  If so, salt-resistant plants should be used.  They will need to know which plants are invasive, which ones tolerate being submerged in water, their height, their root depth, etc.   


Does my vendor have information on stormwater management on their websites/blogs?

A vendor that claims to be a specialist in bioretention will back that up by having specific information on what they do and how they do it on their website and blog posts.  If they are bioretention specialists, they will have had proper training in stormwater management and a vast knowledge of plants and will include these on their website.


How do I verify the legitimacy of my vendor?

As with any contractor you hire for your property or business, ask for references and check them.  Go and look at the properties where they have maintained these systems.  A correctly maintained system will be attractive, have no or little trash accumulation, and will be full of thriving plants.  

Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District has a helpful Stormwater Best Management Practice Design guide booklet available. By familiarizing yourself with the mechanics of bioretention systems, you can ask questions of your current or potential vendor and evaluate their knowledge of these complex systems.  


Our certified stormwater best management practices inspection and maintenance professional ensures that your bioretention area is doing its job through detailed inspections and that it is being properly maintained.  While these systems are designed to be low maintenance, there is maintenance that needs to be done regularly to remain in compliance with stormwater regulations.  Maintenance includes trash removal, weeding, plant/tree trimming, mulch replacement, soil aeration, and plant replacement.  And the best part?  We do all the paperwork!  Our bioretention specialist will manage all required inspections and annual reports and submit them to the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District for you.

With Bluegrass Landscape and Maintenance, you can have confidence that your bioretention areas are working properly, are in compliance, and that you’re doing your part in keeping St. Louis and its waterways clean.  Call our bioretention specialists today at (314) 770-2828.