A stormwater Best Management Practice (BMP) is a technique, measure, or structural control that is used to manage the quantity and quality of stormwater runoff. The goal is to reduce the amount of runoff and improve the quality of stormwater runoff by reducing or eliminating contaminants that are carried by stormwater directly to streams and rivers. Homeowners can adopt a number of BMPs that will help to achieve this goal. For a more extensive BMP list visit the Iowa Stormwater Education Partnership website or the Environmental Protection Agency website.
Common Stormwater Best Management Practices
A rain garden is a basin filled with plants and grasses that collects water that runs off of surfaces such as lawns, roofs, sidewalks, driveways, and parking lots. Wildflowers and other native vegetation are preferred for rain garden landscaping as they require less fertilizer and are more tolerant of local conditions. Rain gardens allow stormwater to filter into the ground rather than running into the storm drains.
Bioswales are stormwater conveyance systems that provide an alternative to storm sewers. They can absorb low flows or carry runoff from heavy rains. Bioswales improve water quality by infiltrating the first flush of stormwater runoff and filtering the large storm flows they convey. They consist of a swaled drainage course with gently sloped sides and filled with vegetation, compost and/or riprap.
Rain barrels are above-ground water storage vessels that collect rainwater from roofs by connecting downspouts to the barrels. This water serves as a free source of water for use on gardens and lawns
Divert drain spouts to your lawn instead of paved surfaces to allow for greater infiltration and less stormwater runoff.
Unlike conventional pavement that does not allow for water to soak into the ground, pervious pavement is designed to allow stormwater through the surface and into the underlying soil where it can infiltrate into the ground and filter pollutants.
Soil conditioning is done by adding amendments to improve the soil's physical qualities so that more water will infiltrate into the ground.
Detention and Retention Basins
Urbanized areas, due to impervious surfaces, produce large stormwater runoff volumes. Stormwater runoff is a significant source of water pollution. A detention basin is a stormwater Best Management Practice (BMP) designed to reduce the impacts of urbanization on local streams and rivers by collecting and slowly releasing stormwater, improving stormwater quality as well as reducing peak flows. Properly maintained detention basins can provide effective pollutant removal and necessary storage volumes during larger storm events.