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One of the most essential tools to ensure everybody is complying with environmental practices is infiltration. From managing water runoff to maintaining a greener infrastructure, infiltration systems are significant resources. What are the core concepts of infiltration systems, and why do they play such a critical role?

What Are Infiltration Systems?

Infiltration systems is a term that refers to engineered techniques and structures that manage stormwater runoff. As stormwater runoff can have an impact on urban structures when it has nowhere to go or moves into traditional drainage systems, infiltration systems manage stormwater runoff by allowing it to permeate into the ground, effectively infiltrating it.

Infiltration systems work with the natural landscape, and the efficacy of an infiltration system lies in how it can play a major part in the natural water cycle, also known as the hydrologic cycle, and refers to the continuous movement of water on, above, and below the Earth’s surface.

When snow or rainfall occurs, part of it permeates the soil, but due to increasing “urbanization,” such as the construction of buildings and roads, disrupts this process, leading to increased runoff. Infiltration systems play an essential role in establishing an equilibrium in the water cycle.

Why Are Infiltration Systems So Important?

Living in a world where there are stringent rules and regulations surrounding environmental compliance, such as the Clean Water Act, infiltration systems provide an environmentally friendly solution.

Additionally, as urban areas expand, we are reducing the number of impervious surfaces, as this will increase surface runoff during any instance of rain, which can contribute to habitat destruction and reduction in water quality. Infiltration systems are invaluable as they allow stormwater to infiltrate the ground, reducing runoff and filtering out any contaminants.

Infiltration systems are also essential in protecting natural habitats, and we can see this in how infiltration systems prevent soil erosion due to decreased runoff, reducing slope destabilization and damage to surrounding vegetation.

What Types of Infiltration Systems Are There?

Infiltration systems are critical to reducing water surface runoff and improving specific environmental needs. These include the following:

Permeable Pavements

Permeable pavements are essential in stormwater management in an increasingly urban landscape. These pavements allow water to infiltrate through the surface and into the underlying soil and come in different forms, including asphalt and porous concrete.

These are particularly relevant in green infrastructure projects and can be employed in a number of different settings, including, walkways, parking lots, and driveways. They also have an aesthetic component that can increase visual appeal in an urban landscape while still doing their job of managing rain or stormwater.

Rain Gardens

An integral component of any green infrastructure project, rain gardens or bioretention facilities are pleasing to look at and act as landscaped depressions to capture or manage stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces.

Rain gardens blend seamlessly into urban landscapes and can be used in environments as diverse as residential areas, streets, commercial properties, and local parks. Additionally, they provide a natural filtration process to enhance water quality and reduce surface runoff that could overwhelm urban drainage systems.

Infiltration Basins

Also known as dry ponds, these are large depressions designed to collect and manage water runoff. These basins are specifically engineered to store water temporarily so it can slowly infiltrate into the ground or evaporate, and reduce the likelihood of surface water flooding.

Commonly used in areas prone to heavy stormwater flows and flooding, such as construction sites or parking lots, the basins capture the water, and as the water infiltrates into the ground, it stimulates the natural filtration process, increasing the water quality.

Dry Wells

Sometimes called soakaway pits, dry wells help to manage stormwater by directing runoff into storage chambers so it can gradually infiltrate into the surrounding soil or be released into the local groundwater system.

Dry wells are particularly useful in situations where excavation or repair of underground utilities can cause water accumulation.

Infiltration Systems: An Essential Practice

Infiltration systems are essential in many practices. They are effective for stormwater management but are also critical for organizations and individuals looking to be more environmentally friendly.

As a company dedicated to improved services in erosion and sediment control, green infrastructure, and stormwater maintenance, Muller, Inc. is an expert in installing many infiltration systems and we can help you with any aspect of your stormwater management. To learn more, you can contact us by completing our form or calling 703-560-4040.


Stormwater-Rain garden-big-Washington DC” image courtesy of Johan Östberg licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.