Elwood Blues to Bob’s Country Bunker waitress, Claire: “What kind of music do you usually have here?”
Claire: “Oh, we got both kinds. We got country and western.”
Well, here at StormwaterTools.com, we got both kinds of stormwater – construction and post-construction.
As we begin to see beyond regulation and mere compliance, and we start looking at why we do what we do, we find ourselves talking to some strange folks. We may have started as someone simply doing their best to stay out of trouble on a construction site or we may have been initially focused on the quality and quantity of runoff from already constructed facilities. Over time, for one reason or another, the line between the two traditionally separated worlds began to blur.
We find ourselves seemingly out of our comfort zone learning in areas that we didn’t think we cared about. I’m loving it.
Many associations, conferences, and meetings with their names heavily weighted in the phrase, erosion control are actively seeking to place as much emphasis on topics of LID and Green Infrastructure as they are active treatment, sediment basins and erosion control products. The faces and footwear of the members and participants aren’t nearly as predictable as they once were.
In his latest column in IECA’s magazine, Environmental Connection, Dr. Rich McLaughlin acknowledges that many of us are finding ourselves in both worlds. Like some of his current research, the article is a hybrid. It discusses construction practices that have post-construction benefits.
According to EPA, low impact development is an approach to land development (or re-development) that works with nature to manage stormwater as close to its source as possible. Wikipedia says that LID emphasizes conservation and use of on-site natural features to protect water quality. It implements engineered small-scale hydrologic controls to replicate the pre-development hydrologic regime of watersheds through infiltrating, filtering, storing, evaporating, and detaining runoff close to its source. The state of completion of the project really doesn’t play into the definition.
As EPA seems to be shifting its emphasis related to natural buffers at construction sites from sediment filtration and retention to infiltration, it appears that they may still be in a one or the other mind set (see EPA’s Federal Register Notice on Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Construction and Development Point Source).
The more we expand our stormwater knowledge (into either side), the better equipped we will be to address and fulfill the goals of the Clean Water Act.
It appears that subscribers to StormwaterTools.com are a pretty good mix of both construction and post-construction stormwater professionals. The makeup of the many stormwater groups on LinkedIn are not as visible to me. If I had to guess, I would say the majority of the groups I am a part of lean towards post construction.
If you have a second, post a comment either on StormwaterTools.com or at the LinkedIn group discussion of your choice and let us know where your passion lies. Is your current focus primarily on construction or post-construction? Or are you a hybrid stormwater professional?
I am proud to say that I grew up construction but have happily grown into a hybrid.
Connect with both kinds. Sign up above.