4 Common Pollutants in Stormwater Runoff

Traffic in the heavy rain.The DC Metro Area is no stranger to stormwater runoff challenges. When rainwater flows over our urban landscapes, it picks up various pollutants along the way, eventually entering our waterways and causing environmental concerns.

Here are 4 of the most common pollutants found in stormwater runoff to give you an understanding of why they’re so prevalent and the hazards they pose.


Chemicals, from fertilizers to automotive fluids, are abundant in urban landscapes. They can seep into the ground or get washed away during heavy rainfall.

Once they enter the water system, these chemicals can have devastating effects on aquatic life. Prolonged exposure can harm their reproductive systems, growth, and survival rates. For humans, contaminated water can lead to many health issues when ingested directly or indirectly.

Food Waste

It might surprise many, but yes, those fast-food wrappers, discarded Styrofoam cups, and even cooking oil make their way into our water systems. When not disposed of correctly, they litter our streets, eventually getting swept into waterways.

Besides being unsightly, these pollutants degrade slowly, releasing toxic substances over time. They also clog water passages, flooding and damaging marine ecosystems.

Cigarette Butts

An often overlooked but significant source of stormwater pollution, cigarette butts are more than just an eyesore. Littered butts contain harmful chemicals like nicotine, lead, and arsenic.

When these chemicals leach into our water systems, they threaten aquatic life and can even find their way into our drinking water.

Human & Animal Waste

Animal droppings and even human waste are common pollutants in urban stormwater runoff. When rain washes these contaminants into local streams and rivers, they introduce harmful bacteria and pathogens. This can lead to health risks for both humans and marine life, contaminating drinking water sources and disrupting aquatic ecosystems.

Schedule With iSTORMWATER Today

The fight against stormwater runoff pollution is a collective responsibility. By understanding these pollutants, we can take steps in our daily lives and stormwater maintenance to reduce our contribution. For businesses in the DMV area, it’s crucial to have a reliable partner like iSTORMWATER, offering professional stormwater runoff management and preventative maintenance.

Safeguard your commercial property and protect our water systems. Call iSTORMWATER at (443) 699-2828 to get professional advice on stormwater management.

What Are Storm Drainage Easements?

Water flowing heavily from old pipe into runoff pondUnderstanding storm drainage easements is essential if you own a commercial property. These legal agreements grant the government the right to use a portion of your land for water management purposes. While they might seem straightforward, there are crucial details you should be aware of before agreeing to such easements. Our stormwater management experts break down the concept of storm drainage easements, their permanence, ownership, and implications for your business.

Need expert knowledge or stormwater management service in PA, DE, or the DMV? Contact iSTORMWATER online or call us at (443) 699-2828.

The Basics of Storm Drainage Easements

In general terms, an easement is a right granted by one property owner to another for a specific use of a portion of the owner’s land. Storm drainage easements are a type of utility easement that allows the government to access and use a particular part of your property to manage water drainage. Like most utility easements, storm drainage easements are permanent, meaning they continue to exist even if you sell the property to someone else.

Ownership and Maintenance

It’s crucial to understand that while you grant the easement, you still retain ownership of the land. The government or county responsible for the drainage system holds specific rights to access and use the designated area. However, as the property owner, you are responsible for routine grounds maintenance within the easement area, such as grass mowing and debris removal. Additionally, any trees, shrubs, or other growth within the easement are your responsibility to maintain.

How To Tell if You Have One

To find out if there is a storm drainage easement on your property, you can check the plat you received when you purchased your property. These easements are also recorded in government land records. As a business owner, it’s vital to be aware of any existing drainage easements as they may impact how you use your land and give the government the right to access and work on the area whenever necessary.

Permanence of Drainage Easements

Most storm drainage easements are considered permanent. Once established, the easement is secured in writing and recorded in the county’s register of deeds, making it a permanent part of the property’s deed. The easement transfers with the property, meaning it will affect all future owners unless the government officially abandons the easement, which is rare.

Seek Legal Advice Before Agreeing to an Easement

Before agreeing to a storm drainage easement, consulting with an attorney specializing in property rights and easements is crucial. Easements can have significant implications, and granting access to your land might affect your business’s operations or future development plans. A knowledgeable attorney can help you fully understand the legal ramifications and negotiate any necessary terms to protect your business interests.

Call iSTORMWATER at (443) 699-2828 to schedule an appointment for all your stormwater management needs in the DMV, PA, or DE.

Protecting Against Chemical Spills

The Vital Role of Stormwater Management

Water runoff into pondChemical spills pose significant risks to our environment and public health. With the recent uptick in such incidents, addressing the importance of effective stormwater management and planning is crucial.

In this blog post, we’ll explore how stormwater facilities and practices can play a vital role in preventing pollution and mitigating the impacts of chemical spills. We’ll discuss:

  • Chemical spills and their environmental impact
  • Stormwater management as a defense mechanism
  • Building resilient stormwater facilities for contaminants
  • Best practices for preparing for chemical spills
  • Where to find reliable stormwater management services

Contact iSTORMWATER for all your chemical spill and drainwater needs in the DMV by calling us at (443) 699-2828. We’re the number one choice for all private sector and HOA stormwater management services.

A Growing Concern: Chemical Spills & Their Environmental Impact

Chemical spills can occur due to accidents, leaks, or improper handling and storage practices. These incidents often release hazardous substances into the environment, threatening human and ecological health and safety. With increasing chemical-related incidents in recent years, it’s essential to address the potential consequences and take proactive measures to minimize their impact.

Stormwater Management as a Defense Mechanism

Stormwater management encompasses a range of practices and systems designed to control and treat stormwater runoff. While stormwater management is commonly associated with managing urban runoff, its importance in protecting against chemical spills cannot be underestimated. By integrating stormwater management strategies specifically tailored to handle contaminants, we can effectively reduce the risk of pollution in our bodies of water.

Building Resilient Stormwater Facilities for Contaminants

To effectively manage stormwater in the event of a chemical spill, it’s crucial to implement appropriate stormwater facilities. These facilities act as the first line of defense, capturing and treating runoff before it enters waterways. Examples of such facilities include:

Additionally, innovative technologies such as hydrodynamic separators, oil-water separators, and filtration systems can enhance the efficiency of stormwater treatment processes. These solutions help remove pollutants and contaminants from stormwater, preventing their entry into sensitive ecosystems.

Preparing for Chemical Spills: Best Practices

Proactive planning and preparedness are essential to mitigate the impact of chemical spills. Here are some best practices to consider:

  • Risk Assessment: Conduct thorough risk assessments to identify potential spill hazards, vulnerable areas, and critical infrastructure that may be affected by a chemical release.
  • Emergency Response Planning: Develop robust emergency response plans outlining procedures, roles, and responsibilities in the event of a spill. Ensure employees receive adequate training on spill response and containment protocols.
  • Spill Containment Measures: Install secondary containment systems, such as berms or spill pallets, to prevent spills from spreading and reaching storm drains or waterways.
  • Regular Inspections & Maintenance: Implement routine inspections and maintenance of stormwater management facilities to ensure adequate functioning and promptly address any issues.

Trust iSTORMWATER With Your Stormwater Management Needs!

Chemical spills can have devastating consequences on the environment and human health. By prioritizing stormwater management practices specifically designed to handle contaminants, we can significantly reduce the risks associated with these incidents.

Don’t wait for disaster to strike — take action now to protect our ecosystems and communities. Schedule a consultation with iSTORMWATER today and safeguard your environment.

When to Use Stormwater Detention Ponds vs. Retention Ponds

water rippling in pond from pebbling breaking surfaceProperty owners in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC, are often responsible for stormwater management. This means you may have to choose between a detention or retention pond when planning your new construction project. These basins sit below ground level and collect stormwater runoff to prevent flooding and erosion.

In this article, we’ll discuss the differences between detention ponds and retention ponds, along with when each type of stormwater basin is more appropriate. Once you know which is best for your property, you can work with a local stormwater management company to set up the installation process.

Detention Ponds

Detention ponds, or detention basins, typically use a slight slope to divert stormwater runoff into a spacious collection area. There are outlets in the basin that gradually release water until the detention pond is drained. Detention ponds:

  • Are designed to be dry when not in use
  • Do not improve the quality of the stormwater
  • May be hidden under other structures, like parking lots
  • Require a lot of space and work best on large sites
  • Need routine maintenance to remove sediment and debris

Retention Ponds

Retention ponds contain and treat contaminated stormwater to remove pollutants. Unlike detention ponds, they are not meant to drain over time and instead will evaporate or soak into the ground. Retention ponds:

  • May be used as a wildlife habitat
  • Don’t require extra equipment to remove pollutants
  • Are suited to both large and small sites
  • Are considered low-impact on the environment
  • Require less maintenance than detention ponds

Which Stormwater Basin Should You Choose?

Are you still unsure whether to install a detention or retention pond on your property? Here are some takeaways:

  • You should choose a detention pond if you have a large site, don’t require water treatment, and would like the stormwater your basin collects to drain more quickly.
  • You should choose a retention pond if you prefer an environmentally friendly stormwater basin that serves as a natural habitat, removes pollutants from the water it collects, or have a smaller site than a detention pond requires.

A professional stormwater management company can help determine which stormwater basin is right for your property.


iSTORMWATER is a trusted name in stormwater management services for property owners in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC. Our team has over 20 years of stormwater management experience. We work with various commercial property owners to install detention and retention ponds.

Our team is happy to answer any questions about your stormwater management facilities. In addition to installing your stormwater retention pond or detention pond, we can also perform routine maintenance and inspections. We can build above and belowground facilities for apartment complexes, office buildings, shopping centers, and other commercial sites.

Contact us online or call 443-699-2828 today to schedule detention pond or retention pond installation services. We’re available 24/7 for emergency stormwater services.

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.