Stormwater management goes green

  • Published
  • By Randy Stillwell
  • Water Quality Program manager
Stormwater runoff is a major cause of water pollution.  

When rain falls on natural ground, the water can soak into the ground. But when rain falls on roofs, streets and parking lots, it typically makes its way to stormwater drain systems where it's discharged into a nearby body of water.  

Stormwater can gather trash and other pollutants along the way which degrades the quality of those bodies of water.  

To help improve the quality of rivers, lakes and streams, the focus on Green Infra-structure and Low Impact Development Best Management practices has increased. 

The goal is to control stormwater flow quality and quantity by mimicking the natural landscape with permeable surfaces, soils and vegetation. Those structures can also improve the aesthetic appeal of a building's landscaping.  

Examples of GI/LID BMPs include green roofs, bioretention systems, permeable pavements, cisterns, constructed wetlands, etc.  

At Robins, examples include the permeable-pavement parking lot at Bldg. 359, as well as the numerous bioretention areas at Bldg. T549.  

Those structures slow, infiltrate, and filter stormwater.      

Under the Base's permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems - also known as the MS4 permit - Robins is required to track and monitor the Base's GI/LID BMPs through annual inspections.  

In addition to the requirements of the MS4 permit, Robins must also comply with federal regulations, which stipulate that Robins must maintain or restore - to the maximum extent technically feasible - the predevelopment hydrology of the property with regard to the temperature, rate, volume and duration of flow for all development or redevelopment projects that exceed 5,000 square feet. 

As a result, Robins is likely to see an increase in the number of GI/LID BMPs in the near future.   For more information, call 468-9645.

Editor's note: Stormwater Straight Talk is a quarterly column intended to educate and inform base personnel about stormwater pollution.