Eastern Geographic Science Center


Dr. Dianna Hogan
Research Physical Scientist

Animation showing (1) large excavated area with filtration system in place, (2) filtration system buried, and (3) and over grown with grass and houses nearby.
Underground filtration system – examples show during
installation as the community was being developed June
2009, just after burial (July 2009), and after a residential
area was completed. This underground BMP includes
stormwater retention and filtration – functions to mitigate
both stormwater quantity and quality. For scale, note the
construction worker in the blue hard hat in the June 2009

Photo of mature retention pond.
Above ground retention pond.

How can I tell if my community is using Best Management Practices?

Since the EPA’s expansion of the Clean Water Act in 1987, the use of urban stormwater management infrastructure is relatively widespread. Stormwater BMP may take many forms including, but not limited to, the following:
    • Detention basins
    • Retention ponds
    • Stormwater wetlands
    • Infiltration trenches
    • Underground storage tanks
    • Bioretention cells
    • Sand filters
    • Storm filters
    • Oil and grease separators

Often, BMP are above ground and visible. The most recognized BMP structures are detention basins and retention ponds. Detention basins detain stormwater for a short period of time, and retention ponds retain stormwater for a longer period of time such as a natural pond would before releasing it into a nearby stream.

More recently, BMP have begun to be constructed below ground so that they seamlessly blend in with the landscape. The animated series (top left) of images depict an example of buried stormwater infrastructure.

bullet   How can I tell if my community is using Best Management Practices?

Photo of dry retention area.
Above ground detention basin – stormwater runoff flows into detention basins where the sediment can settle out before flowing to nearby streams.

Photo of detention basin very close to houses.
    Above ground detention basin with a concrete trench that limits the ability of the stormwater to contact the soil and vegetation in the basin, decreasing infiltration or water quality treatment potential.

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