What Elevated Rainfall Means for Your Stormwater System
By Erin Zaske, Chief Development Officer
As the days get longer, the weather gets warmer and the spring season moves in to full-effect, rainfall will join the regular forecast throughout much of the United States. However, due to climate changes that include average temperatures rising and a continuing alteration of wind patterns and ocean currents around the US that affect hydrological processes, multiple regions are projected to experience elevated levels of rainfall year-over-year. Property owners will need to prepare for more frequent rainfall as a result, along with other latent impacts that can affect their stormwater systems and the surrounding areas.
Projected Rainfall Increases for Key US Regions
According to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Institute of Agricultural and Natural Resources, parts of the Northwest that include Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana will experience above-average rainfall in 2022. The National Weather service predicts parts of the Northeast and Central regions will also experience a yearly increase in precipitation, with states such as Kentucky, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania all tracking for a 30-50% uptick. With precipitation projected to increase in these regions, the threat of flooding should be top-of-mind, as a greater rate of stormwater accumulation leads to more frequent displacement and stagnation of water across impervious surfaces (i.e., parking lots and paved roads).
The Impact on Stormwater Systems & The Surrounding Area
Stormwater systems are specifically engineered to transfer displaced water away from impervious surfaces and release it downstream, while filtering out sediments and pollutants. However, a system that is improperly maintained or damaged can impede proper drainage and water infiltration, causing flooding to occur. Flooding can incur severe damage to the surrounding environment, including the degradation and cracking of localized infrastructure, water seepage into buildings and structures that permits dangerous mold to form, and pollution of surrounding bodies of water due to unfiltered runoff. If water is allowed to remain stagnant for an extended period, subsurface erosion of foundational soil and sediment can result in the formation of sinkholes that present critical safety threats to those in the vicinity.
A stormwater system that is ill-prepared to deal with an increase in stormwater accumulation can also suffer multiple caused failures that require costly repair or rehabilitation. These include clogged catch basins, cracked piping, destruction of localized vegetation and improper drainage resulting in standing water that slowly degrades system infrastructure. In addition, local municipalities will issue damaged systems a notice of violation (NOV) for noncompliance, forcing property owners to pay extensive, daily fines on top of the cost of repairing the system.
How You Can Prepare Your Stormwater System for Elevated Rainfall
With precipitation set to increase regionally across the nation, it is critical that property owners work with a certified stormwater professional to allocate a budget for, create and enact a routine stormwater maintenance plan. Doing so makes certain the system can properly filter and drain stormwater to prevent flooding, while remaining compliant with local municipalities. Implementing a preventative maintenance plan also mitigates costly repairs, and proactively extends the life of the stormwater system.
Want to learn more about implementing a preventative maintenance plan for your stormwater system? Request a FREE consultation from AQUALIS today.