Dirty Streets to Dirty BMPS: Maintaining Clean Stormwater BMPs Along Roadways

If you built a public bathroom, would you arrange to clean it? If you bought a car, would you schedule oil changes? So why would you design stormwater facilities and walk away? Once all the landscape architects, engineers, planners, and builders walk away from a project, success is only guaranteed by the programs designed to maintain it.

The use of stormwater LIDs are increasing along roadways, which are subject to harsh impacts from sediment, pollutants, salt, pedestrian, and vehicular impacts. They require structural maintenance of inlets, curbs, and media, but also require non-structural maintenance of plants, mulch, and aesthetics. In this presentation we’ll provide examples of the types of maintenance, frequencies, costs, equipment, and man-hours required to do the job right. Lessons will be shared from maintenance in Montgomery County, Maryland, which is currently responsible for the function and aesthetics of over 300 bio-retentions, bio-swales, and raingardens in roadway right-of-ways.

Green roof in Lancaster, PA. Photo courtesy of Chesapeake Bay Program.

Green roof in Lancaster, PA. Photo courtesy of Chesapeake Bay Program.

Mary Travaglini provides direction and oversight for the inspection, maintenance, and repair of green stormwater infrastructure for Montgomery County, Maryland, including green roofs, pervious pavement, bio-retention, and raingardens. She sees firsthand the impacts of stormwater and human use of our built environment on stormwater facilities, and uses field observations to inform better design, construction, and maintenance of these practices. Mary has degrees in natural resources and landscape architecture, and has previous experience with invasive plant management, trail construction, and landscape design, all of which she applies to her work in stormwater management. She still drinks local tap water, despite knowing where it came from.