Stormwater is rainwater that washes through our property and streets, taking with it any debris that may be in its path. This mixture of rain, debris, oil, and waste is known as runoff.
Stormwater management is a mechanism for controlling stormwater runoff. These practices are incorporated into the design of a development to mitigate any impacts the development may have on the aquatic environment. Stormwater management practices address two major issues, the quantity or volume of stormwater and the quality of the stormwater.
Pervious (or vegetated) surfaces, such as fields, meadows, and woodlands absorb and infiltrate rainfall and generate little runoff. As land develops, these areas are typically covered with impervious surfaces, such as pavement and rooftops. These impervious surfaces generate more runoff every time it rains. The quantity of runoff from these areas can overwhelm natural channels and streams. Stormwater management practices are designed to offset these increases in runoff. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has more information on managing runoff.
The pervious and impervious surfaces in the urbanized landscape collect pollutants, such as automobile oil, grease, brake pad dust, sediment from construction sites, bacteria from animal waste, excess lawn care fertilizers and pesticides, as well as atmospheric deposition of phosphorus, nitrogen, and other airborne pollutants. Rainfall washes these surfaces so that the initial flush of runoff can carry high concentrations of these pollutants to nearby drinking water supplies, waterways, beaches, and properties. Pollution washed from the land surface by rainfall is called nonpoint source pollution.
Stormwater management practices also provide water quality treatment to help prevent additional pollution from entering streams and rivers. Stafford County is located in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, where protecting water quality is very important.
Stormwater Managment Provision
The stormwater management provisions of the Stafford County Code were adopted to establish requirements for the management and control of stormwater runoff from developed properties in the County during and after construction. The County Board of Supervisors has approved a Stormwater Management Design Manual to provide guidance for designers to assist in meeting those requirements. The manual serves as a supplement to State and Federal design manuals that govern stormwater management design.
Stafford County requires the use of low-impact development (LID) techniques to the maximum extent practicable. Low-impact development stormwater management design approaches are fundamentally different from conventional design approaches and challenge traditional thinking regarding development standards, watershed protection, and public participation. LID combines fundamental hydrologic concepts with many of today’s common stormwater strategies, practices and techniques to reshape development patterns in a way that maintains natural watershed hydrologic functions.
Effective May 1, 2011, Stafford County has entered the Community Rating System (CRS) with a Class 8 rating, a rating achieved by only 14 other communities within the Commonwealth. This qualifies each eligible National Flood Insurance Policy (NFIP) policyholder for a 10% savings in their flood insurance premium. Overall, the County’s CRS accomplishment has resulted in a total annual savings of $15,000.
All stormwater management facilities in Stafford County need to be secured with a maintenance agreement prior to the plan being approved. Some important links: