Stormwater is the result of precipitation events that gather in our ditches, drainages, and other systems to eventually flow to a water body source such as a pond, a detention basin, or a creek or river. Water is an easy way to move something from one location to another location if its not stationary or permanent in nature. I bring this up because where I live we are heading into breakup season, with the snow melting, puddling, and flowing towards the path of least resistance… usually a slough or a nearby river.
The amount of stormwater proportionately increases with the amount of impervious surfaces in a location. More urbanized settings will have a higher amount of stormwater to handle during an event. Events are defined as precipitation received, that is the length and duration of a rain storm. Volume calculations are used to determine what type of event you may of had such as a 50-year storm even or a 500-year storm event. In recent years, here in the Interior, we’ve been experiencing a lot of 100-year events. This is amusing because theoretically, you should only be experiencing a certain storm type once in that period of years (so one event per 100 years). I really think the charts are due for an update to better reflect the recent climate and weather changes the world has been experiencing.
That’s honestly the technical side of it, and probably my preferred side of the problem. Calculating storm events to determine what kinds of mitigation techniques would be the most useful is fun to me as an engineer. The environmental side is more of a ‘please don’t throw that on the ground’ type of approach. Vehicles and equipment that have drips and leaks to pet waste become concerns depending on the quantity and the fact that it can go directly into our water resources. Breakup is especially bad about this because things have been hiding under layers of snow and suddenly you’re murdering a small school of fish that just barely established itself in a slough a block up from your backyard last summer. So, it’s important to not throw things on the ground, dump out oil on the ground or pavement, let gasoline spill in spots, and anything else that’s hazardous.
I am not sure if these articles are interesting to anyone reading here, but I’m finding it nice to practice with research and stating facts, while trying to put my own personal views and experience out there. It can sometimes be a struggle to determine what to write since I’m trying to do something like this once a month and with how broad and sometimes overlapping the ideas out there are, it can be hard to pick or narrow one down. We have to write articles at work for our specific program areas, so this has been kind of fun to reflect on the various topics out there and sharing my own personal understanding from my professional and educational experience.
If there’s a topic of interest that you’re curious to know more about, please feel free to leave a suggestion for me!