The Dangers of Improper City Stormwater Drainage

Posted On: April 04, 2021

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! ​


Real Results

iStormwater LLC was an excellent choice. They made the process of the Storm water pond repairs seamless. They took charge of the project and got the project approved and passing the inspection. We highly recommend them and would use them again.

Lyonswood HOA

Incredible stormwater management service. The owner John consulted on a property I manage and ended up saving us thousands of dollars in environmental fees from the government. Now, our property is compliant with the EPA and we have a great partner to keep us maintained on storm water regulations over time.

Kelly E.
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