Muddy Mess

Stormwater in the Mainstream: Commentary

A random stormwater headline grabbed me last week. I decided to analyze it from a long way off in terms of geography and detailed knowledge of the circumstances. The story comes to us from KSHB, Channel 41 in Kansas City, Missouri. The reporter, Ali Hoxie, can be reached at Please take 2 minutes (plus a few seconds[…]

Small Footprint

Two Quotes

I’d like to share two remarkable quotes from this week. The first was written by a regulatory inspector on his inspection report. He was simply making an observation and likely doesn’t have a clue that anyone would be impressed by his mention. His note was simply, “Creative BMP design and implementation appeared to be very effective.” […]

Stormwater Intrapreneurship (and a Free Webinar)

Intrapreneurship – the act of behaving like an entrepreneur while working within a large organization I like the concept of intrapreneurship and I’d like to think I have behaved like an intrapreneur at times during my career. Being a long-time government employee, it may be a bit ironic that I am also a long-time wannabe[…]

“It’s cheaper to pay the fine.”

The short view: The cost of compliance exceeds the cost (and odds) of getting caught. It’s obvious that an effective environmental protection program can be expensive. So is an effective safety program, an effective quality assurance program, and an effective marketing and sales program. Effectiveness on its own requires resources. Valuable and scarce resources can be saved or[…]

Ditch Check, Check Dam or Gulley Plug?

I had to make the distinction for myself years ago. Prior to 2002 I had not paid much attention to the differences in terminology. If a practice was shown on the plans and/or if the contract included a pay item for one or the other, we installed it. At ALDOT, the check dam, or Erosion[…]

Guidelines, Goals and Standards

The often vague or unclear nature of construction stormwater regulation can be frustrating.  We want to be compliant and secure in our efforts, but it can be very difficult to define compliance. Effluent Limitation Guidelines offer an example.  If they are guidelines, why are they enforced as law?  If they are regulatory, why are they called guidelines?  Every state[…]

Stormwater People

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, 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[…]

Regulator Magnets – SEDIMENT TRACK OUT

Comedian Ron White tells a story of being thrown out of a bar and getting arrested for being “drunk in public.”  He unsuccessfully tried to make the case that the bouncers were the ones who should be arrested.  He argued that he was actually (and legally) drunk in the bar until he was thrown into the public by[…]

Regulator Magnets – INLETS

          Inlets represent the location of our last line of defense.  Many times they serve as a gateway or direct conduit to receiving waters. They are essentially your discharge point.   The quality of runoff entering inlets can often be directly tied to regulatory compliance.  Therefore, regulators love ’em. 1) Sediment control alone[…]

Moving The Compliance Point

Leadership author Dr. John Maxwell says that two of the most difficult things to teach employees are; to think, and to do things in odrer of importance.  There is not much more important to our work than the quality of our discharge at the outfall.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we could choose the topography of[…]