Stormwater Management: What and Why
Why is managing stormwater important?Street flooding from excessive runoff can cause traffic hazardsExcessive runoff can cause erosion Unmanaged runoff can carry pollution into streams, requiring more costly water treatment for human use, and degrading natural ecosystems What is a BMP?BMP stands for “Best Management Practices”BMP’s are sets of techniques used to control stormwater in a way that imposes minimal disruption on the natural environment while mitigating runoff effects. BMP’s include such techniques as green roofs, rain gardens, bio-retention cells, cisterns, and permeable pavement. Why was this particular location chosen?In 2003, STEAC partnered with Swarthmore College in a grant-funded study which created a computer model of stormwater runoff in Springfield Township. A second grant-funded project, completed in 2005, used the computer model to compare estimated costs and expected results of possible improvements to stormwater management at eight “hot spots”, or locations where runoff and/or flooding have been historical problems, in the Township. This decision-making model clearly identified a first-priority project, in a 13.2-acre, municipally-owned, centrally-located area occupied by Williams Park, the Library, amphitheater, Township Building, and District Court.
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This area, which is accessed by the public every day, fulfills several key criteria that also fit with the goals of the environmental granting agencies – 1. A wide range of storm runoff carries non-point source pollutants (including suspended solids and nutrients) into this site. 2. The site topography and soil conditions are suited to a wide range of Best Management Practices (BMP). 3. Incorporating BMPs at this site will help reduce the tons of sediment washed into the Delaware River estuary. 4. Springfield Township is the property owner and willing partner in this project. 5. Many residents routinely visit this area, which provides educational opportunities on stormwater pollution and the BMPs that will help to solve the problem.