Many articles have appeared in these pages about reducing stormwater runoff to protect our rivers and streams. If stormwater runoff washes chemical materials, such as lawn care products, into our streams, they become an environmental hazard.
Another material that should not be overlooked and prevented from mixing with stormwater runoff is dirt. It is the foundation on which our community is built. Whether the soil is topsoil or the clay foundation of our land features, it is our valuable friend.
When it becomes sediment, meaning dirt is washed away (erosion) by stormwater, it is an enemy of our storm sewers, streams, and rivers. Erosion destroys our land, and sediment clogs our sewers and waterways, creating maintenance issues, flooding potential, and harm to aquatic life.
Best land management practices offer many methods to prevent soil erosion during construction projects and the day-to-day maintenance of our land.
Soil is most vulnerable during construction activity. If ground cover vegetation is stripped from the earth, it is vital to preserving the underlying topsoil. Consider temporary ground cover (such as tarps) or collecting it and covering it for redistribution later. Sediment traps, such as straw bales, fencing, dandy-bags/filter socks around storm grates, must be used to trap sediment before it moves away from the construction site and enters the storm sewer. Take a look around construction activity in Montgomery and see if you can identify the methods used to trap soil in runoff water.
Maintaining our yards and land is also essential to minimize erosion. Vegetation or any porous surface that allows water to soak into the ground protect ground coverings like bare soil. Preventing runoff at the source with rain barrels and splash blocks on roof downspouts, minimizing paved surfaces, and building rain gardens are all excellent ways to capture overflow and allow it to hydrate our property instead of moving down the drain.
For construction guidance, refer to the “Code of Ordinances, CHAPTER 154: WATER MANAGEMENT, SEDIMENT CONTROL, AND FLOOD DAMAGE PREVENTION”. This chapter is very specific regarding requirements during construction.
The “Property Maintenance Code, section 302 Exterior Open Areas” is applicable to all existing residential and non-residential premises.