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Aug 05

Stormwater Management

Posted on August 5, 2013 at 8:49 AM by Kirstyn Barr

What is stormwater? Stormwater is rainfall that does not soak into the ground, but instead flows over the land’s hard surface into the nearest water body through storm water channels and drainage systems. When it rains or snows, the amount of water that is absorbed back into the environment varies largely on whether the land is paved (impervious) or natural (pervious). As we pave roads and sidewalks, construct buildings or add other impervious surfaces, the amount of water that can be naturally absorbed after a rain or snow event is reduced significantly. Water that cannot infiltrate into the surrounding environment is called water runoff or stormwater runoff.

Why does stormwater matter? Excessive rainfall that does not soak into the ground can cause flooding and bank erosion. In order to prevent our community from flooding, stormwater runoff is diverted into the storm drainage system and carried to the nearest stream. The storm drainage system is not connected to any water treatment facility, therefore it is important that nothing except rainwater enters the system through the inlets located on the streets and near residents’ homes. Stormwater is a problem because it carries a lot of pollution along with it wherever it flows. As stormwater runoff flows over pavement and yard areas, it picks up pollutants like nutrients, oils, sediment, trash, heavy metals and chemicals. Those pollutants make their way down through our watersheds to the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay.

What can we do about it? In order to reduce stormwater runoff pollution, the Town adheres to the requirements of General Virginia Stormwater Management Program (VSMP). To meet the VSMP requirements, the Town must have trained staff who manage stormwater projects and ensure compliance. One of the stormwater management projects, the Wolftrap Streambed Restoration, was recently discussed in the July issue of the Vienna Newsletter. There are ways homeowners can help as well. Homeowners can plant shade trees, preserve their current native trees, properly dispose of pet waste, and create rain gardens to reduce stormwater runoff pollution.

Stormwater management is not the most exciting topic but one that is important to the long-term health of the Town, County and State as building and growth continue. As stormwater management continues to be discussed over the coming months, it is important to be informed about the topic. Here are some links with additional information:

Laurie DiRocco
Town Councilmember