Stormwater and green infrastructure facilities are essential for reducing flooding risk and minimizing the pollution that enters nearby streams and creeks. Falling rain quickly enters these facilities, preventing surface erosion and improving the urban environment.
However, these facilities require proper maintenance, particularly in the summer. Drains, rain gardens, green roofs, and permeable paving won’t look after themselves.
This blog explores everything you need to do to maintain your stormwater or green infrastructure facilities between June and September. Requirements differ at this time of year compared to other seasons.
Avoid Washing Your Car On The Driveway
Start by avoiding washing your car on the driveway. While it might be enjoyable on a hot summer’s day, the practice can cause grease, soap, and oil to wash into local streams and creeks.
Unlike wastewater, stormwater does not pass through processing to remove the toxic elements before entering natural water sources. Consequently, synthetic compounds can damage green infrastructure and local ecosystems.
If you want to wash your car, take it to a professional car wash with a conventional drainage system. Alternatively, wash your vehicle away from surfaces where water could run off into drains.
Avoid Using Fertilizer
Another way to maintain your green infrastructure facilities during the summer is to minimize fertilizer use and keep it away from areas prone to runoff. Fertilizer can make your property look stunning but can also pollute nearby water sources.
If you want to use fertilizer, leave a buffer between fertilized areas and elements of your stormwater drainage system. Leaving a space between grassed areas and any paved surfaces can help prevent algae blooms in local water sources or damage to infrastructure.
Mow Pond Dam Embankments
If you have pond dam embarkments, summer is a good time to mow them. Raise your mower height to at least three inches to allow the grass to absorb more moisture. Cutting grass too short can lead to pond overfilling in urban environments.
Maintain Infiltration Facilities
Maintaining infiltration facilities is also highly recommended in the summer. That’s because of the fair weather and the fact that more rain arrives in the fall.
Start with your infiltration trench if you have one. Remove the top six to twelve inches of gravel and replace the filter cloth. Ensure that it has sufficient capacity to handle storm rain that might arrive in the following months.
If you have any permeable paving material, vacuum any sediment. For this, you’ll need special vacuum equipment designed for outdoor use.
Maintain Your Vegetated Facilities
The summer is also an opportunity to maintain your vegetated facilities. Again, preparing these in the warmer months will enable them to handle rain and floodwater when they arrive later in the year.
If you have a bioretention facility, remove any sediment and replace it with new soil. Add filter media where necessary in drier weather.
Repair leaks and replenish any lost soil or plants, as necessary, on vegetated rooftops. Water plants if it is hot weather, and install an irrigation system if you expect regular droughts in years to come.
Finally, check your vegetated swale. Inspect riprap, wood, or earth dams and remove any sediment. If you notice bare patches, reseed the area. Remove dead plants if necessary.
The local government may pay for maintenance if the vegetated swale is next to a highway right-of-way. You should contact authorities to find out what grants are available.
Remove Plants And Debris After Storms
Another excellent way to maintain your stormwater and green infrastructure facilities is to remove plant debris after storms. Twigs, branches, and leaves can clog outflow structures, preventing them from doing their job.
Place plant matter in a compost bin or send it off for recycling or storage.
Repair Any Leaks Or Cracks In Your Pipes, Valves Or Other Components
Finally, repairing leaks and cracks in your stormwater infrastructure is something else you should be doing to maintain your facilities in the summer. Damage to the infrastructure makes it less effective at channeling water or storing it in the right location.
Proper stormwater maintenance makes your facilities more effective and helps them last longer. It also protects the environment and ensures that they work well when you most need them in the fall and winter. Summer weather and lower rainfall make it the perfect time to inspect your equipment and carry out repairs.