What is Stormwater Management?
Polluted stormwater runoff is the number one cause of poor water quality in streams and rivers in Fairfax County. When it rains and water runs off streets, suburban yards and parking lots, it picks up pesticides, grass clippings, fertilizer from lawns, bacteria from pet waste and petroleum and oil from driveways and parking lots. Stormwater also picks up sediment from construction sites and litter and cigarette butts from sidewalks and streets.
All of this pollution flows to stormdrains on the street and is discharged directly streams. Polluted stormwater runoff is not filtered or sent to a sanitary sewage facility.
Impervious surfaces, like roads, houses, parking lots and driveways prevent stormwater from infiltrating into the soil. The runoff increases in quantity and speed, causing environmentally harmful, and potentially dangerous, bank erosion in streams. Eventually, all of these pollutants make their way down through local watersheds, to the Potomac River and thus to the Chesapeake Bay.
To prevent stream bank erosion and polluted waterways, engineers and ecologists work together to develop “Best Management Practices,” (BMPs) to accommodate stormwater runoff while minimizing environmental impacts. Best Management Practices encompass a wide range of man-made structures, such as stormwater management facilities, or simple everyday preventative housekeeping measures that residents can do, such as picking up after pets and not littering.
Stormwater management facilities are developed to reduce the amount of stormwater runoff and provide time for most pollutants to settle in a holding area (a stormwater pond) where they will not be transported to streams. Typical stormwater management facilities used in residential and commercial areas include: dry and wet ponds, rain gardens, trenches, pervious pavement, wetlands and manufactured facilities (which are usually underground baffling systems designed to filter out certain pollutants).
For additional information, or to request this information in an alternate format, please email the Maintenance and Stormwater Management Division or call 703-877-2800, TTY 711.
Email the Maintenance and Stormwater Management Division or call 703-877-2800, TTY 711
Stormwater/watershed planning and project
Email the Stormwater Planning Division or call 703-324-5500, TTY 711
Additional assistance with private stormwater
Email the Northern Virginia Soil & Water Conservation District or call 703-324-1460, TTY 711