Water will have its way. One of our most important resources, it will also flood, erode, and destroy. It will overrun barriers, seek its own level, and take everything with it.
Unfortunately, population and commercial expansion is often in the way of stormwater. The impervious surfaces created by construction, home development, and parking lots do not provide the stormwater with a place to go naturally. However, with smart stormwater management, home and business owners can take what may prove to be very prudent and responsible steps to make the water flow positively.
When water runs off impervious surfaces, it corrupts shared water resources. The water carries toxins, human and animal debris, and fertilizers with it into storm sewers, water tables, and aquifers from which we secure our drinking water.
Roof shingles, highway surfacing, and storm sewers keep soils from absorbing and filtering rainfall. This destabilizes stream bottoms and flow, redirects natural waterflow, damages property and infrastructure, and pollutes our rivers, streams, and lakes.
And, all this costs money, time, and attention.
Stormwater management is everyone’s responsibility. But, over time, it has fallen to municipalities, counties, states, and the Federal Government to define the problem, identify the solutions, and enforce their application. As the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandates, “To protect these resources, communities, construction companies, industries, and others, [should] use stormwater controls, known as best management practices (BMP).”
In times of stormwater crisis, there are always conflicts over blame. But, getting stormwater right from the beginning prevents loss of life, property damage, and polluted water sources.
A municipal authority like the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District (MSD) recommends bioretention as a Best Management Practice. The MSD defines bioretention as “a depressed landscape feature which stores, filters, and infiltrates stormwater runoff.” They go on to offer examples like “curb and cul-de-sac islands, streetscape, and planter boxes.”
Certified and experienced providers like Bluegrass Landscaping & Maintenance offer solutions to install, maintain, and rebuild when systems fail. Bioretention involves a lot more than plantings; for example, the infrastructure includes perforated pipe underneath to direct drainage and an overflow outlet to manage water from rainfall and runoff larger than the bioretention space during heavy storms.
But, bioretention involves a lot more than the plantings. The BMP requires a lot of expertise and documentation. Any compliance authority like MSD will insist on approvals on:
- Performance criteria
- Design details
- Proximity to other buildings
- Attractive but functional vegetation
- Sediment control
- Online, off-line, and overflow assessment
- Maintenance planning
So, on top of accepting the responsibility, taking advantage of professional expertise, and paying the price, customers need assistance in preparing and filing the necessary paperwork.
That gets complicated depending on where you live or build. For instance, Missouri has entirely different water issues than other states, so each has its own regulations. Even in Missouri, one county and one town may have significantly different problems. Heavily forested land, lands near rivers, and property in the mountains, these all differ in needs and approaches. So, you need the landscaper who knows your area well and has the BMPs at hand to complete and submit regularly.
What makes Bluegrass green
Our commitment to MSD bioretention is consistent with our commitment to green initiatives at Bluegrass Landscaping and Maintenance. For example, in June 2014, we installed energy-efficient solar panels on our main office building. In the same year, we put our managers in Ford Fusions for major fuel savings. And, our landscaping and maintenance employees use propane powered mowers to radically reduce our carbon emissions.