What Is Low-Impact Development?

5 Benefits of Low-Impact Development Explained

If you are developing a commercial property and are considering stormwater solutions to control runoff, you may wonder what low-impact development is. In short, it is a system that mimics the natural hydrology of the property to manage rainfall at the source rather than allowing runoff to affect other properties in the area. It is an effective strategy to minimize runoff and erosion while preventing pollution from impermeable surfaces like parking lots and roadways. There are five basic principles of low-impact development.

Conserve Natural Areas

Paving over the entirety of a commercial property will create one massive surface to catch rain and create undesirable runoff. To keep runoff to a minimum, maintain as many green areas as possible. Established native plants and soil can go a long way toward controlling rainwater and minimizing runoff. Plus, you will reduce the harmful effects of runoff and make your commercial property look more attractive and natural.

Minimize Impact on Hydrology

Using appropriate techniques to minimize the development’s effects on the natural hydrology of the property can significantly reduce runoff and its damaging effects like pollution. This can mean everything from maintaining natural areas to avoiding significant changes to the grade and using permeable surfaces whenever possible rather than asphalt or concrete — mimicking the natural hydrology as closely as possible will allow rain to soak into the soil or evaporate.

Maintain Runoff Rate & Duration

Ideally, rainwater should never leave the property. Runoff rates and duration after the development is complete should match those of the undeveloped property. A combination of retention and control features should allow you to minimize the water that leaves the property as runoff. This will reduce your impact on neighboring properties and the municipal stormwater system.

Implement Integrated Management Practices

Integrated Management Practices are your property’s built-in features that help you manage runoff. They include systems that infiltrate rainwater into the soil, retain runoff, store it, or aid in its evaporation. Some IMPS examples include swales or small ridges that direct rainwater to certain areas, rain gardens that keep runoff with plants and soil, green roofs that absorb rainwater, or pervious concrete that allows moisture to soak through into the earth below. All of these reduce the amount of rainwater that turns into runoff.

Pollution Prevention, Maintenance, & Public Education

Runoff from solid surfaces like parking lots or sidewalks can often contain trash, debris, and pollutants like fuel or oil. Capturing and treating runoff from these areas is essential to protect the environment. Systems like hydrodynamic separators can pull large debris and sediment from the runoff. At the same time, retention, filtering, and treatment facilities can filter the water and remove pollutants like oil, heavy metals, or chemicals. Routine maintenance is essential to keep these systems operating correctly, as is public education to help prevent pollution and keep debris out of the stormwater system. Preventing pollution can keep help to protect groundwater resources, as well as natural habitats for animals, birds, and fish.

Why Choose iSTORMWATER for Low-Impact Development Projects?

iSTORMWATER has over 20 years of industry experience installing and maintaining stormwater management systems, and we have worked closely with commercial developments throughout Maryland, Virginia, and the Washington, DC, area to minimize their impact on the environment. We have the skill and knowledge to manage runoff effectively and prevent pollution, and we can design real-world stormwater solutions that are an excellent fit for your commercial property. We feature an experienced team, upfront pricing, detailed estimates, and quality work backed by our iSTORMWATER guarantee. Plus, we are available 24/7 for emergency stormwater services anywhere in the DC metro area. Check out our FAQ to learn more!

Do you need help with runoff, stormwater management, or erosion control? Call iSTORMWATER today at (443) 699-2828 or contact us online to schedule a stormwater management consultation in the DMV area.

When Is a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan Required?

When Is a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan Required?


The Environmental Protection Agency is highly concerned with preventing pollutants from damaging United States waters, and so it requires facilities to obtain certain permits to operate. A Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan is a prerequisite to obtaining the needed permits, but it can be a challenge to complete without professional help.

If your company needs an SWPPP in Virginia, Maryland, or Washington, DC, iSTORMWATER is here to guide you through the process. We’ll explain what an SWPPP is and when it’s required. If you need help with an SWPPP for your facility, turn to our team for our expert stormwater services.

Call us today at (443) 699-2828 or contact us online to tell us about your stormwater needs.

What Is a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan?

An SWPPP provides a closer look at what proactive measures your facility is taking to prevent pollution of nearby waterways. There are seven components to an SWPPP:

  1. Site descriptions detailed enough to provide outside responders the information needed to assist in the event of an emergency, including locations of all receiving waters, stormwater conveyances, monitoring points, and more.
  2. Contact information of the facility’s pollution prevention team.
  3. List of all activities that may cause pollution and areas where leaks or spills may happen, including outdoor storage, vehicles and equipment, and more.
  4. Control measures, schedules, and specific procedures that produce pollution.
  5. Spill response plans in case of an emergency.
  6. Breakdown of schedules and procedures for inspections and monitoring of facility waters.
  7. Documentation of employee training programs meant to instruct about the SWPPP and their roles in pollution prevention.

These seven requirements often end up more complex than facility management expects, and having an expert by your side to walk you through the process of collection and compilation of necessary information can be imperative.

When Is a Prevention Plan Required?

An SWPPP is needed for any facility attempting to secure a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit. An NPDES is necessary for facilities that discharge into Water of the United States. The SWPPP is required after submitting a Notice of Intent that describes what pollutants may be discharged and the name of the affected waterway.

Note that facilities that discharge into a municipal sewer system do not require NPDES permits, but municipalities have their own restrictions to be aware of.

iSTORMWATER is ready to help you navigate the complexities of stormwater permits, so contact us online or call us at (443) 699-2828 for the help you need.

Choose iSTORMWATER for Professional Pollution Compliance

Stormwater pollution prevention and SWPPPs are never easy to navigate. At iSTORMWATER, you’ll be working with experts that hold Stormwater Management Inspector and Stormwater Maintenance Facility Contractor certifications, so you can trust we know the ins and outs of local and federal stormwater requirements. We rely on fair and ethical business practices and the utmost professionalism to build strong customer relationships that keep our clients coming back.

Don’t wait to get the assistance you need on your DC, Virginia, or Maryland facility’s SWPPP — call iSTORMWATER at (443) 699-2828 or contact us online today.

Guide to Retention Ponds

Retention ponds are by far one of the more attractive ways to handle surface runoff. They’ve been a practical solution to heavy rains since they were first introduced in the ’80s, but their popularity is surging. They can act as a buffer between natural and urban landscapes and can even assist with pollutant removal.

What Are Retention Ponds?

Retention ponds are usually built from a spillway and dam. The dam itself houses water, while the spillway redirects excess fluids during storms and floods. They rely on a perimeter levy, which prevents overflowing. They’re usually surrounded by lush grasses and plants, so they can be as beautiful as they are useful. Wet ponds collect rainwater as it escapes the watershed, then release it gradually through an orifice. This mitigates the damage of fast-flowing water and encourages evaporation before excess water has time to cause erosion.

Pros and Cons of Retention Ponds

Retention ponds are an alternative to detention (or dry) ponds. The latter technology isn’t permanently covered in water, so its aesthetics can’t compete with those of retention ponds. That said, poorly maintained retention ponds produce the same problems as any standing water. They can generate odors due to algae growth and become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. When well-maintained, they don’t produce either of these problems.

It’s relatively easy to combat algal growth. Your pond will need to be regularly pumped free of sediment. If you prefer easy maintenance, you can cope with algae bloom by planting landscaping that will reduce nutrient load. While you can certainly use herbicides, they only provide a temporary reprieve. Landscaping is a permanent solution that will ultimately reduce your maintenance load.

Detention ponds are designed to hold water temporarily, so they don’t usually require heavy water quality maintenance, but each solution suits its own unique climate. Dry ponds are best for climates that don’t produce much precipitation. In flood-prone regions, wet ponds are far more efficient at coping with runoff. Retention pond risers are built at a higher point, so they gather water from impervious surfaces. This reduces their pollutants and carries a lower risk of forming blockages. However, the rate of drainage in wet ponds doesn’t allow silt particles to settle, so they will be carried into the rest of the water cycle.

Retention ponds are often installed by property owners, municipalities, businesses, and even homeowners associations. Their benefits include:

  • Design: Communities generally welcome the addition of a retention pond.
  • Easy to line: This allows them to serve in regions where groundwater is vulnerable.
  • Ecological benefits: Retention ponds create their own ecosystems to support life.
  • Efficiency: Wet ponds can cope with the heaviest storms.

However, no stormwater solution is perfect, and retention ponds are no different. Their downsides include:

  • Anaerobic conditions: If they don’t experience regular inflow, water can support algae blooms and mosquitoes.
  • Increase in invasive species: Wet ponds create a new ecosystem, which could support unwelcome plant life.
  • Need for space: Wet ponds don’t suit built-up urban areas.

iSTORMWATER can help you to find the best solution for your unique region and priorities. Our team has a variety of certifications to cover the breadth of our services. We offer a wide range of flood mitigation solutions and install both above and belowground facilities.

Contact us to arrange a consultation at 443-699-2828.

Guide to Stormwater Inspections

What To Expect During a Stormwater Inspection?


Stormwater runoff, or extra water that flows over the ground, occurs when heavy rain collects on 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 conduct regular stormwater inspections. By proactively identifying vulnerable areas and ensuring drain protection products are in working condition, you’ll ensure proper compliance and prevention of serious problems.

What Do Inspections Include?

For routine inspections carried out monthly, weekly, or even daily to make sure the system is working in accordance with your Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan, facilities typically follow a checklist that contains:

  • Date and time of inspection
  • Information on who is performing the inspection
  • Controls that require replacement or repair
  • Compliance and noncompliance documentation
  • Weather conditions at the time of inspection

In addition to routine inspections, facilities need quarterly inspections to ensure stormwater mitigation meets the standards set in the permit. Quarterly inspections include visual checks on outflow areas and obtaining stormwater samples from multiple points for analysis.

At least once a year, facilities need a comprehensive inspection of the premises from a certified inspector. These inspections require:

  • Observing storm drains and any other area the permit covers
  • Documenting all materials that may have been touched by stormwater
  • Summarizing data from routine inspections
  • Noting spills or leaks
  • Documenting control measures


What Happens After the Inspection?

The inspector will note any repairs or maintenance required to keep the permit valid. Completing these is imperative to continue operating and avoiding costly fines.

Remember, while some aspects of maintaining stormwater management systems may be DIY-able, in many cases, attempting your own inspections exposes you to additional liability without offering the improvements or insight you’ll see with proper preventive maintenance services. If there are aspects of your system that need to be maintained between professional sessions, iSTORMWATER can help you identify these and explain them to you.

Stormwater Services in the DMV

Inspection requirements for stormwater management systems are complex, but iSTORMWATER can ensure your facility stays compliant and protected.

Call us at (443) 699-2828 or contact us online to schedule your stormwater inspection today.

Reducing Runoff

It’s common knowledge that runoff from stormwater can bring flood damage to your facility and surrounding areas, but it is also a cause for concern because of its ability to spread pollution far and wide. Runoff is classified as what the Environmental Protection Agency calls “nonpoint source pollution,” a form of pollution that comes from various sources rather than one particular location. To minimize the hazards of chemicals, bacteria, oils, salts, and more associated with stormwater, facilities must do what they can to reduce runoff. Here are three of the best ways to do so.

1. Strategic Landscaping

One of the top ways to reduce runoff is to create bioretention areas, also known as rain gardens. These spaces are created by planting trees, shrubs, and flowers in a designated area, preferably designed to make the most of plants’ power to absorb runoff and naturally filter it through the soil. A professional stormwater management company like iSTORMWATER will be able to assess your available space and maximize the runoff reduction of your bioretention area through plant choice, landscaping materials, and strategic grading.

2. Permeable Hardscaping

Traditional concrete, asphalt, and other hardscaping materials are meant to be mostly impermeable. Impermeable surfaces do little to nothing to absorb runoff, especially if there is no system in place to divert stormwater safely. Replacing impervious materials or planning new hardscapes with materials like pervious concrete, which quickly captures water even in the event of sudden flooding, is a smart way to reduce runoff without any visually obtrusive measures.

3. Drainage System

For any commercial building or facility, a customized drainage system is the ideal method for adhering to applicable regulations regarding stormwater and runoff mitigation. iSTORMWATER specializes in stormwater facilities above and below ground, so you can detain and treat stormwater runoff to the required specifications. Solutions like the CONTECH StormFilter system can be customized to your facility and your treatment needs, greatly reducing the pollutive runoff from storms in your area.


At iSTORMWATER, we know how critical it is to implement and maintain solutions that minimize runoff from storms — and we understand that doing so can be a confusing challenge. That’s why we offer a variety of solutions to fit your facility, regardless of size or industry specialization. With a combination of more than 20 years of experience managing stormwater in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC, we are a trusted partner for organizations of all types.

To learn more about our stormwater mitigation and inspection services, call iSTORMWATER at (443) 699-2828 or send us your questions online.