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Stormwater Management Services

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New residential property estates must comply with local council requirements with stormwater management and drainage to be compliant and meet the standards.

What is stormwater?

Stormwater is large amounts of water that comes from rainfall during a storm or typical rain periods. Once the rain hits the ground area, it will typically soak into the soil and remain stagnant on hard surfaces such as roads, paths driveways.

A large amount of stormwater will run off into neighbouring drains, creeks, rivers and waterways. In a developed residential or commercial area, stormwater that is not managed can cause issues of flooding homes, businesses or contaminating waterways.

Stormwater management processes

Stormwater management is the process of reducing runoff of rainfall into streets, properties and other sites.

When rainwater hits the ground, it’s absorbed into the soil and replenishes the earth, plants and trees. When the rainfall is heavy, it often creates an excess of water that flows into drains, roads, property areas and may cause flooding. This water may also then carry debris, garbage that can contaminate waterways and oceans.

Stormwater systems are designed to support water sensitive areas and meet local council requirements.

Areas that have been previously naturally vegetated and now have homes built on them with roads, carparks and sporting fields can have an impact on how water flows in the event of a storm.

This includes:

  • An increase in the amounts of runoff from the urban catchments.
  • Alterations to Hydrologic regime.
  • Calculated changes to the geomorphology of the groundwater movement.
  • The surface water flows leading to channel erosion effects.
  • Deposit downstream of sediment and potential flooding.

Contaminants that flow with this water can cause significant issues if it enters waterways and oceans.

A stormwater system helps treat, filter any pollutants out of the water before it reaches ecosystems.

Why stormwater management is required?

As mentioned above, protecting the ecosystem and human health is the top priority in stormwater management systems.

Increasing populated urban areas can cause the water to be contaminated by pollutants which can cause significant damage to the local ecosystem and oceans.

Types of stormwater pollutants include:

Suspended Solids

Suspended solids are usually created in a variety of ways:

  • land surface erosion,
  • atmospheric deposition,
  • spillage,
  • pavement and vehicle wear,
  • building construction and
  • demolition.

These pollutants are closely associated with other types of pollutants, such as nutrients, heavy metals and hydrocarbons in a variety of situations. There are also two types of solids these pollutants can be divided into – suspended solids and dissolved solids.

Suspended solids include particles bigger than 0.45 μm in the water, while dissolved solids consist of anything smaller than 0.45 μm.

Nutrients

Nutrients is the name given to a range of chemical compounds such as nitrogen, phosphorus, calcium, carbon, iron, manganese and potassium. Of these, nitrogen and phosphorus compounds play the most critical role in environmental degradation, in terms of water quality.

While nutrient compounds are beneficial for plant growth as long as they’re retained in the soil, excessive amounts in waterways can cause damage to all forms of aquatic life in rivers and lakes.

A high level of nutrients in a body of water can also promote excessive growth of water plants, whichcan also threaten the health of aquatic habitats. Too much plant life in water systems can reduce light penetration into the water, which can block the ability of some organisms to synthesise the nutrients they need from sunlight.

Excessive plant life covering the water surface can also decrease the amount of oxygen in the water in some cases, which can also impact other organisms living in and depending on the aquatic environmental rehabilitation.

Organic carbon

Organic carbon originates from many sources. For example, organic carbon can be produced directly by plant litter and soil erosion. Examples of indirect sources include atmospheric deposition, decaying vegetation, waste materials and leaks from septic tanks.

In cases where organic carbon is mobilised by stormwater, it can cause the depletion of dissolved oxygen in water systems and habitats, which can lead to the death of fish and other aquatic life that rely on oxygen.

Heavy Metals

Heavy metals are considered a critical pollutant due to their high levels of toxicity and potential to cause harmful effects. Not only are these a concern in terms of human health, they also are a concern when it comes to contaminants affecting our waterways and ecosystems.

Heavy metals include:

  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Arsenic
  • Cadmium
  • Copper
  • Zinc

Exposure to any of these heavy metals can affect red blood cells, as well as the nervous system and several organs very negatively. They can also be contributing causes of certain types of cancer, metabolic poisoning and damage to kidneys among other body systems depending on how much you ingest.

Heavy metals can, unfortunately, accumulate in humans, plants and animals, very easily which makes them a big threat to our health and must be filtered out of the waterways.

Hydrocarbons

Hydrocarbon is the name given to a range of compounds including oils, phenols and grease from natural, environmental and anthropogenic pollution. Commercial and industrial activity can commonly result in hydrocarbons and pollutants that lead to emissions of sulphur dioxide.

It’s been reported that stormwater runoff from road surfaces contains a greater hydrocarbon load than water from rooftops. These are a major concern in relation to stormwater runoff and must be filtered out.

Acidity and Alkalinity

Water quality is determined by the status of a number of factors including the acidity and alkalinity of the water. Water with moderate amounts of acidity or alkalinity is fine for consumption without adverse effects, however higher levels of acidity or alkalinity in the water can indicate chemical pollutants are present. This obviously poses a risk to aquatic habitats and the human body. These can be determined, and adjusted for, by measuring the pH level.

If you require more information on stormwater management, contact us today.

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