Commercial Flood Preparation

3-Step Flood Preparation Checklist

grey-toned image of rain pouring on concreteFloods are dangerous and one of the biggest sources of property damage each year in the United States. Business owners in areas prone to flooding should be prepared to keep their teams safe and protect their property. In this article, we’ll discuss what property owners in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC, should do during a flood, what supplies they should keep on hand, and what to do after a flood. The more prepared you are for a flood, the less stressed you’ll be if you’re ever in one.

Supplies You Need for a Flood

First things first — preparedness is key when dealing with a flood. Both homeowners and business owners should create an evacuation plan in case of a flood. You should also gather some supplies to keep on hand. Some essential items include:

  • A three-day supply of food and water for each person in your building (one gallon per person)
  • A first-aid kit
  • A flashlight
  • A week’s supply of any essential medications
  • Personal hygiene and sanitation items
  • Extra batteries and phone chargers
  • A physical copy of family and emergency contacts for your employees
  • Emergency cash
  • Maps of the area
  • A multi-purpose tool
  • A hand-crank radio
  • Emergency blankets

Packing these items ready to go in a bag will save you precious time when evacuating a flooded area. It will also give you peace of mind that your team has everything they need during a flood event.

Actions To Take During a Flood

If you see flood warnings in your area, you should monitor the radio or news channel closely and be prepared to evacuate immediately. You should also:

  • Be ready to grab your emergency supplies and evacuate your building immediately.
  • Unplug any electrical items in your building.
  • Relocate any essential or valuable equipment to a higher floor
  • Avoid using elevators.
  • Refrain from driving through any water, especially if it’s above your ankles.
  • Head for high ground with your employees and stay in place.
  • Make sure that everyone is accounted for and uninjured.
  • Listen to the National Weather Service (NWS) on your radio to stay informed about the flood.
  • Keep everyone away from the water.

Try to avoid driving at night if possible. Floodwater can be difficult to see, and you can quickly lose control of your car if the water is even 6 inches high.

What To Do After a Flood

After a flood, it may be challenging to know what to do next. You should only return to your building once officials declare it safe. Once you’re back, you should:

  • Inspect the outside of your building before entering to make sure there aren’t damaged power lines or gas lines.
  • Refrain from entering your building if you can see visible damage to supports or the roof.
  • Call the fire department if you smell natural gas or propane.
  • Avoid stepping in any standing water.
  • Contact any contractors or utility companies for necessary repairs.
  • Clean and dry any important equipment.
  • Clear debris from your building.
  • Run dehumidifiers throughout the building.
  • Check with the local officials whether your tap water is safe to drink.

You should also contact a local flood mitigation company if your property is damaged. There’s only so much property owners can do to fix flood damage without professional help. A flood mitigation expert can dry out your building properly and minimize or reverse damage to your property.

Why Choose iSTORMWATER for Flood Mitigation Services?

If your commercial building has flooded, don’t wait to get help. iSTORMWATER is a trusted source for flood mitigation services in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC. We’ll provide upfront, detailed cost estimates, a thorough explanation of our services, and a timeline for your flood mitigation work. Our highly trained team will work hard to restore your business to its former condition.

Contact us online or call 443-699-2828 today to request flood mitigation services.

How Does the Contech StormFilter Work?

StormFilter Stormwater Treatment by Contech

Stormwater runoff can be downright dangerous. As it flows across a myriad of surfaces, it picks up many pollutants, including hydrocarbons, metals, suspended solids, and more. As we learn more about how these pollutants affect the human body, regulations on stormwater quality continue to become more complex while compliance becomes more challenging. Luckily, the StormFilter filtration system exists to meet and exceed the standards required by many regulatory agencies.

What Is the Contech StormFilter?

The StormFilter is an underground device designed to trap particles and remove pollutants. The device uses rechargeable cartridges housed in a system of one or multiple structures beneath the ground, with the ability to target specific pollutants or protect against as many as possible within the same system. The StormFilter is highly configurable, making it suitable for a variety of applications.

How Does the StormFilter Work?

There are four steps to the StormFilter treatment cycle.

  1. Runoff from the storm moves through the system’s filtration media. It fills the center tube in the cartridge; then, the air is expelled via a one-way valve as water accumulates.
  2. Buoyancy pulls the float off once the water gets to the top of the float, and filtered water exits the cartridge through a specialized siphon.
  3. Once the storm is over and water stops accumulating, the water level in the structure will fall until it reaches the bottom of the hood where the scrubbing regulators are located.
  4. Air passes through the regulators and breaks the siphon. This produces air bubbles that agitate the filter, so the sediment it has built up settles on the floor.

Thanks to features like high flexibility in design and low maintenance, this proven system has been successful for more than 20 years.

StormFilter Applications

Here are just a few of the different applications ideal for the StormFilter system.

  • High-volume: The StormFilter has been successful for high-volume detention and treatment systems thanks to its flexibility and scalability.
  • Low-impact development: For LID designs, the StormFilter can be decentralized for efficient treatment closest to the source of the runoff.
  • Industrial: StormFilter can filter out complex pollutants and solids at scale and is durable enough to withstand industrial use.

Partner With iSTORMWATER Today

Are you interested in harnessing the power of the Contech StormFilter, or do you need repairs and maintenance on an existing system? iSTORMWATER is your partner of choice in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC. With over 20 years of experience leading the industry, our service and skill make inspections, repairs, maintenance, and upgrades smooth and as stress-free as possible.

Contact us to learn more about stormwater treatment options and explore our site to learn about our comprehensive guarantee

The Dangers of Improper City Stormwater Drainage

Climate change and the severe storms that accompany it have many cities making alterations to how they manage drainage concerns. Cities that don’t take action to better handle stormwater runoff, or extra water that flows over the ground during heavy rains, could face serious flooding, erosion, and even urban habitat degradation – all of which are a threat to local businesses. Keep reading to learn more about these dangers, and what can be done to avoid them.

What Is Stormwater?

During heavy rains, extra water can collect on top of impervious surfaces – roads, sidewalks, driveways, parking lots, etc. – rather than soaking into the ground. This is naturally a bigger problem in urban settings, where non-porous pavements are more common than rural areas.

Why Do Cities Need Stormwater Drainage Setups?

The serious risk of stormwater runoff  makes it imperative for cities to have a comprehensive stormwater management plan in place. Without one, flooding can cause damage to businesses, public property, and other infrastructure. It can also result in greater pollution and water concerns. When rainwater can’t soak into the ground, it collects above ground and then rushes into storm drains. This creates threats to the quality and even quantity of water in urbanized areas.

What Damage Can Occur Without Functioning Stormwater Drainage?

The primary concern is flooding. Impervious surfaces cause irregular runoff, which can erode and change the structure of existing streams. Since water flows more quickly off these surfaces, flooding becomes a more regular and more intense occurrence downstream. The runoff can carry trash, bacteria, and other pollutants with it.

Impervious surfaces also threaten water quality. Any substance that falls on these surfaces – such as engine oil on a driveway, animal waste on a sidewalk, or pesticides on a sports field – can be washed away during heavy rain into the closest storm drain and directly to natural water sources used by both humans and wildlife. This is a serious pollution concern that may not be fully treated by regular water treatment. In fact, drinking water disease outbreaks have been linked to stormwater runoff.

While this is clearly a public health concern, stormwater drainage is also necessary to protect commercial businesses from serious flooding and property damage. As heavy rains become more frequent, this is a problem that cities cannot afford to ignore.


The good news is there are solutions available. Homeowners can minimize the use of impervious surfaces by using alternative materials as a driveway or sidewalk (such as mulch, gravel, uncemented brick, or grass pavers), green scaping rooftops with planting, and reducing the square footage of structures like decks, patios, and parking lots on your property. Steps like these can help control flash flooding and pollution in our waterways.

On a larger scale, cities can implement infrastructure to better trap and reuse stormwater runoff, such as rerouting drainage pipes from sewers to rain barrels. Another way around impervious surfaces is to use pervious materials instead. Permeable pavement is designed with spaces in the pavement surface that sits on an aggregate sub-base over the soil. This allows water to pass through the pavement rather than collect dangerously on top. The water can then be collected and treated or simply returned into the ground below.

If you have concerns about impervious surfaces creating unsafe conditions around your business, don’t hesitate to call the professionals at iSTORMWATER. We are a stormwater management company that offers both preventative stormwater maintenance and flooding mitigation services that can save you money and possible property damage.

We offer a free consultation, so contact us today or call (443) 699-2828! ​

How Should Property Managers & HOAs Deal With Stormwater?

Stormwater management is likely one of the more specialized areas of responsibility you face if you manage a homeowners association or other property here in the DMV and DC area, and there’s a lot that goes into it. Extreme weather is becoming more common, and even a typical rainstorm can pose a risk to your property without proper stormwater systems in place. iSTORMWATER’s expert engineers can help you protect your property investment from structural rot and mold, avoid citations from local agencies, support the well-being of your local community, and keep commercial tenants and apartment renters happier. Here’s how.

Basics of Stormwater

Did you know that rain causes billions of dollars in damage in the United States every year? It’s the result of stormwater runoff or the extra water that flows over the ground. It occurs when heavy rain collects on top of impervious surfaces (such as rooftops, driveways, and parking lots) that don’t allow the water to seep into the ground or follow a natural path to larger waterways.

The main concern is flooding, but stormwater runoff also threatens water quality. Any substance that falls on these surfaces, such as engine oil on a driveway, animal waste on a sidewalk, or pesticides on a sports field, can be washed away during heavy rain into the closest storm drain and directly to natural water sources used by both humans and wildlife. This is a serious pollution concern.

What Are the Sources of Stormwater?

Pollution From Rooftops

Rooftops are a commonly overlooked source of stormwater since people don’t spend a lot of time looking at them. However, they easily collect tree leaves, litter, and other debris within their gutters. If this waste isn’t regularly cleaned out, it will eventually get swept into your neighborhood storm drain.

Why is that a problem? Other than the risk of potential clogs, this waste also carries pollutants within it — pollutants that would normally have been filtered out by soil. Without that step, bacteria begin to grow and create an oxygen-free zone that pushes species of fish out. It also makes the area nearly unusable for commercial or recreational purposes — not something you want to happen near your property.

Yard Flooding

Have you ever noticed pools of water in your property’s yard after heavy rain? Stormwater that has nowhere to go and is too abundant to be absorbed into the ground poses a serious flooding threat that shouldn’t be ignored.

Even in cases where you expect your insurance to cover flood damages, it’s important to realize the damages of unmitigated flooding can extend far beyond what’s covered by your insurance. Customer vehicles in underground parking, nearby land contaminated by runoff after a flood, erosion that only shows itself years later when part of your floor collapses — the list of risks goes on and on. This can happen even if water never accumulates!

It’s also worth noting the expansion of regulations requiring flood mitigation and stormwater management across the country. It’s becoming more mandatory, and if you don’t meet the requirements, you could end up with a violation.

Clogged Storm Drains & Basins

Storm drains on private roads within a homeowners association’s area or a property owner’s land must be unobstructed and maintained so that stormwater runoff is properly kept off the street as designed.

Clogged basins are most often caused by a lack of maintenance. When not maintained, these drains often get clogged with debris, such as leaves and dirt. When this happens, the nearby roads can be flooded.

What Is a Stormwater Notice of Violation?

A Notice of Violation can come as the result of a routine county inspection or anonymous complaint. Some possible reasons why your property might have received an NOV include:

  • Improper site preparation
  • Changes to local conditions
  • Neglect or improper maintenance

If you get a Notice of Violation in the mail, you have no choice but to comply. Failure to correct the issues outlined in your NOV within the allotted time could result in civil penalties (fines) of hundreds or even thousands of dollars per day that the violation occurs.

For Notice of Violation assistance in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, DC, please call iSTORMWATER at (443) 699-2828 or contact us online.

Are Homeowners Associations Responsible for Stormwater Drainage?

Yes. When a neighborhood or subdivision is built, the developer and contractor are responsible for designing and implementing an effective stormwater management system that prevents flooding and water pollution from unfiltered runoff. However, the obligation to maintain and keep the system in good repair usually passes on to the homeowners association once the development has been completed.

Are Property Managers Responsible for Stormwater Drainage?

After a private property has been built and there is no homeowners association that exists, it’s the responsibility of private property owners to maintain it.


iSTORMWATER can help your homeowners association or property management tackle stormwater violations quickly and cost-effectively. We can then provide stormwater management inspections to help you avoid any more violations in the future.

iSTORMWATER’s engineers and land management experts design, build, retrofit, maintain, and repair the stormwater systems you need. Our customized drainage solutions for apartment complexes and office buildings help owners deal effectively with storm runoff. From environmentally friendly infiltration trenches that redirect water to bioretention that uses plant material to temporarily store and treat stormwater, our inventive technicians are here to protect you from possible property damage. Our full-service company also provides cleanup and compliance solutions.

Don’t put your HOA at risk by neglecting stormwater management. Contact iSTORMWATER today, and we’ll create a customized plan for your property’s specific needs.

The 5 Methods for Managing Stormwater Runoff Volume

Stormwater runoff, or extra water that flows over the ground, occurs when heavy rain collects on top of impervious surfaces (such as rooftops, driveways, and parking lots) that don’t allow the water to seep into the ground or follow a natural path to larger waterways. This inevitably causes problems like flooding, erosion, and habitat degradation.

That’s why it’s imperative to include stormwater management when developing commercial spaces. While you should always check your state and local regulations for specific requirements, here are five general methods to consider for managing stormwater runoff.

Infiltration Trenches

Since stormwater runoff is unable to permeate the surfaces it collects on, one option is to redirect the water into the soil. This is what infiltration trenches do. These shallow trenches are about three to 12 feet in depth, and filled with aggregate in order to accumulate the rain and send it into the earth. It’s important to note that infiltration trenches are dependent on factors like soil type, location of nearby buildings, and land slopes. They are also often used in conjunction with other practices since the trenches alone aren’t enough to handle excessive runoff. Still, this is an environmentally friendly solution that keeps water from being wasted.

Permeable Pavement

Another way around an impervious surface is to use pervious materials instead. Permeable pavement is designed with spaces in the pavement surface that sits on an aggregate sub-base over the soil. This allows water to pass through the pavement rather than collect dangerously on top. The water can then be collected and treated or simply returned into the ground below.

Underground Detention Facility

This particular option is a below-ground stormwater structure (collection tanks, basins, etc.) that is often buried beneath parking lots and roadways, making it ideal if there is insufficient space for an above-ground solution. The primary purpose is to manage the quantity of stormwater runoff. A stormwater detention facility collects the water and then releases it at a controlled rate into the sewer or local aquifer. These storage containers can also attach to filters that remove chemicals, oil, sediment, and other pollutants that would otherwise flow into rivers and streams.

iSTORMWATER can maintain your underground stormwater detention facility. Contact us online or give us a call at (443) 699-2828 to schedule services in Southern Maryland, Northern Virginia, and Washington, DC.

Permeable Pavers

Similar to the permeable pavement discussed earlier, permeable pavers are another option with built-in voids (this time between each paver) to manage stormwater runoff. The aggregate underneath filters the water and directs it to the soil. This type of paver can also be used in conjunction with a storage facility to harvest the water for other uses.


Bioretention utilizes plant material and microbes to temporarily store and treat stormwater before it is discharged or infiltrated. Also referred to as bioretention filters, bioretention cells, or rain gardens, these facilities remove suspended solids, metals, hydrocarbons, and bacteria from stormwater runoff using a combination of absorption, filtration, volatilization, ion exchange, and microbial decomposition. The use of specific plants, trees, and shrubs allows bioretention systems to mimic an upland forest floor, the ideal ecosystem for treating runoff.

These systems are extremely versatile and can be adapted to fit many different development contexts, applications, and climates. It’s a popular low-impact development (LID) practice that can satisfy local stormwater requirements while using space already designated for landscaping.

Stormwater Service in the DMV

Interested in learning more about stormwater runoff management? Don’t hesitate to call the professionals at iSTORMWATER. We proudly serve Maryland, Northern Virginia, and Washington, DC by offering both preventative stormwater maintenance and flooding mitigation services that can save you money and possible property damage.

For your free consultation, contact us today!