Homeowner Best Management Practices
Homeowners making improvements to their property this spring have many environmentally (and often times economically) friendly options. A stormwater best management practice (BMP) is a technique, measure, or structural control that is used for a given set of conditions to manage the quantity and improve the quality of stormwater runoff in the most cost-effective manner. It is important to remember that in DuPage County, stormwater runs into separate storm sewer systems and is not treated before it is discharged to local streams and rivers. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Botanic Garden produced a 9-minute on-line video, “
Reduce Runoff: Slow It Down, Spread It Out, Soak It In,” that highlights green techniques such as rain gardens, green roofs and rain barrels to help manage stormwater runoff. The film showcases green techniques that are being used in urban areas to reduce the effects of stormwater runoff on the quality of downstream receiving waters. The goal is to mimic the natural way water moves through an area before development by using design techniques that infiltrate, evaporate, and reuse runoff close to its source. BMPs help reduce the amount of runoff from your property, and help improve the quality of the runoff that does leave your property. As you consider making improvements to your property, consider these BMPs in your design plans:
Rain barrels are an easy and inexpensive way to store runoff where it falls, on your property. The stored water can later be used to water gardens and lawns, and is better for your plants than tap water. Barrels can be made at home or can be purchased, and installation is simple. An overflow valve diverts water away from the barrel and your foundation once the barrel is full. The overflow valve can also be used to connected multiple rain barrels.
Rain Barrel Brochure
Rain Barrel Installation Guide
Rain Barrel Resources
Green roofs are an excellent way to decrease the amount of runoff leaving your property. The green roofs not only utilize water where it falls, but help prevent urban heat islands. Green roofs are a more expensive upgrade to your property, but they save money on heating and cooling costs. Green roofs can be constructed and flat AND sloped surfaces. It's important to work with licensed professionals (contractors, structural engineers or architects) to determine feasibility, safety and costs in constructing the roof.
A rain garden is an attractive addition to your property that is effective in reducing the amount of runoff leaving your property. Rain gardens utilize native plants, which have deep roots that absorb runoff, filter pollutants and promote groundwater recharge.
Rain Garden Brochure (PDF)
Rain Garden Links
Local Native Plant Suppliers (PDF)
Local Native Landscaping Companies (PDF)
A permeable paver is an alternative to traditional concrete or asphalt paving. The pavers decrease runoff by allowing runoff to seep into cracks that are filled with an aggregate.