Land-based Solutions to Storm Water Runoff

Monica Barnes
February 18, 2013 — 1,214 views  
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Flooding, along with the damage it brings, is a normal occurrence in many low-lying cities. Agencies concerned with Best Management Practices (BMP) continue to develop methods that can combat flooding and its effects on property and human health. Along with storm water prevention plans are land-based solutions to flooding that cities today are beginning to incorporate in their infrastructure projects.

Detention Basin

Storm water tends to flow toward the lowest-lying region of the land. Topographically, rivers that collect runoff from cities have the lowest elevation. However, to collect and manage runoff that fails to reach the rivers and other watercourses, detention basin is constructed in low-lying areas within the city. This storm water management facility collects storm water for a definite period of time and allows it to permeate into the ground, although some detention basins are designed to permanently hold specific volume of water at all times.


As flood saturates various places, it carries pollutants that might contaminate rivers and other watercourses. Bioswales are landscape elements designed with vegetation along the gently slope sides and other swale material to maximize the time water spends before it transports contaminants into the sewers. The contaminants are trapped in the swale and cleaner water flows though the drainage.

Rain Garden

The role of rain gardens is almost similar to that of detention basin, since rain gardens are planted depression. The only difference is rain gardens absorb water faster because of the vegetation. This can be constructed in both residential and commercial environment where storm water is a serious concern. The gardens in homes can be considered rain gardens if they are placed at an area where water from the roof and from other sources are conveyed toward them.


Some contaminants that mix with storm water are hazardous and might not be dealt with using bioswales as part of the storm water prevention plan. They need to be captured and degraded biologically to immobilize their hazardous properties. Biofilters made from living materials consist of bacteria and fungi that can reduce the toxicity of substances mixed in the water.

Resin Bound Paving

The construction industry has begun to use mixture of aggregate stones that provide pervious property to a finished pavement. This way, runoff rate will be significantly reduced. If this method will be used extensively in large infrastructure projects as part of storm water prevention plan, flooding can be minimized.

More information about land-based solution to flooding can be found in This website provides detailed information about specific storm water management techniques including opportunities for stormwater pollution prevention plan training.

Monica Barnes