Found in a Basin: A Photo Blog

Throughout the spring, summer, and fall I conduct inspections of permanent stormwater control measures (SCM's). These include wet and dry basins, bioretention cells, permeable pavements, and underground systems. The purpose of an SCM is to either detain stormwater or detain and treat stormwater prior to discharging from the site. Typically inspections are done annually or every three years.

Many of these practices are hidden or tucked away in the corners of the property or housing developments. This creates an opportunity for wildlife and random things to collect. I have found many interesting things during my inspections including all sorts of wildlife, animal bones, and even money! Scroll through the blog photos for some of the things I have seen. Not pictured: a fox found in a inflow pipe, green heron, and a blue heron. These are fun surprises, but the reality is these SCM’s are a place where trash and invasive species collect.

During my inspections I highlight the needed maintenance for a particular SCM, this includes removing things that should not be there. Each SCM has unique maintenance requirements, but there are commonalities between each practice. My top findings are:

Invasive plants can quickly take foothold in a basin and take up space that is needed for the designed water storage. Routinely treating and cutting back invasive plants is needed to avoid a complete invasive plant takeover. With stormwater comes trash and sediment, routine litter pick up is an essential maintenance requirement for SCM owners. Sediment removal is more of a non-routine maintenance requirement; however it is necessary for the long-term function of the practice. Keeping up with routine maintenance will lower the cost of maintenance and reduce the frequency of nonroutine maintenance. I like to tell SCM owners that their practice is part of the property infrastructure and just like the building the SCM requires upkeep.

Are you an SCM owner or live close to one? What have you found in your practice?

Blog Author: Megan Smith, Stormwater Specialist

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