Storm water is rain, falling on impervious surfaces and directed down slope by gravity, as "sheet flow". When sheet flow collects in gutters and down spouts, it becomes a point source. Storm water management is the strategy of percolating point sources into ground water. Both sheet flow and point sources can be managed this way, with various strategies.
Uncontrolled storm water discharges have become characteristic of anthropogenic activities which create impervious surfaces. Seasonal fluctuations in precipitation are reflected in ground water table elevations, often creating temporary pools in low elevation areas. These short-term events provide critical habitat for many endangered amphibians who survive by laying their eggs where they won't be consumed buy fish. The overall goal of storm water management is to direct precipitation into the ground water table.
In the spring of 2010, Cape Cod experienced such record levels of ground water, that areas which would normally be dry became flooded as the underground water table rose up in low areas, such as this location between sand dunes. With climate change producing extra precipitation in New England, we have published this booklet to keep our ground water safe by offering suggestions to get roof and driveway runoff into the water table, instead of sending it down our streets.
GOOD NEIGHBOR storm water ideas Click here to get your own copy of some inexpensive ideas for managing your own rainwater and being a better neighbor.
Storm Water Performance Standards
Safe Harbor designs storm water systems with zero discharge performance standards. On site mitigation provides ground water recharge for sheet flow and point source discharge. Massachusetts Smart Growth initiatives advocate for the protection of our water resources.
Safe Harbor advocates for minimal de-vegetation and grade alterations on construction sites to minimize potential storm water generation and discharge. This also significantly reduces erosion control and re-vegetation costs. We also strongly advocate use of sustainable, indigenous vegetation systems. Native stem-leaf-root systems naturally reduce runoff velocity and remove pollutants, sediments and silt. These systems also contribute to habitat values.
These are some of the options we choose from.
1. Rain Garden
2. Rain Barrel irrigation
3. Cistern Storage
4. Filter Strips
5. Vegetated Swale
6. Stone Swale
7. In Ground Dispersal System
8. Drip Lines
9. Dry Wells
10. Bio Retention
Unmanaged storm water generated by impervious paving contributes animal, vehicle and road waste directly into our coastal wetlands. Workable management systems are available for municipal and residential use. Storm water should be infiltrated into the ground water table to meet performance standards for wetland areas. Some towns on the Cape still have work to do in this area.
We design and evaluate storm water management options based on sustainability, low profile, low maintenance and gravity driven systems. Most of these systems are also low cost.
PLOWED SNOW IS STORM WATER, COMPLETE WITH ROAD AND VEHICLE WASTE. IT IS IMPORTANT TO GET IT RECHARGED TO GROUND WATER AND NOT DUMP IN INTO OUR HARBORS. SNOW SHOULD BE DIRECTED TO DESIGNATED SWALE AREAS FOR STORAGE, AWAY FROM HARBORS.