Engineers and Designers

Scuppers funnel rooftop runoff into landscaped swales at the Portland Water Pollution Control Laboratory.
Recognition of the benefits that sustainable stormwater management practices bring to residential, commercial, and transportation development projects has propelled them to the forefront of the debate on how best to address pressing stormwater management issues. These practices, installed as replacements for or to supplement more traditional stormwater management controls, can effectively address issues of water quality and quantity, while allowing for added benefit or amenity to an installation site.

Not only do these practices provide a direct benefit to individual installations, adoption of these practices can open the door to new alliances and funding sources and can increase your competitive advantage as you develop a reputation as an innovator and pioneer in the field.

Just think of the benefit of having 1/4" of stormwater retained or infiltrated on site during every storm event, or a 25% reduction in impervious surface. Imagine the boost to your public image and community acceptance for constructing a soccer field instead of a detention pond, or an ecoroof instead of an inhospitable asphalt built-up roof (BUR).

As you explore options for incorporating best management practices (BMPs) into your projects, consider the current regulatory environment in which you will operate and use that to help you determine how best to proceed. The following section gives some suggestions on where to begin.

What can you do to encourage the use of best management practices?

Use BMPs in your site designs
One of the best ways to encourage or support BMPs is to implement them in your own projects. This may sound like an obvious solution but it is suggestive of a more active approach, rather than a passive one, where you might wait around for a mandate to include BMPs in project design. Bringing BMPs to the table promotes awareness of alternative possibilities for managing water quality and quantity, providing cost-effective solutions, and encouraging future acceptance and implementation of BMPs by other organizations and regulatory agencies. The toolbox section of this site provides many resources to help determine the best way to incorporate BMPs in your development plan.

Strengthen your knowledge of federal, state, and local regulations and opportunities
Growing acceptance of BMPs and recognition of the potential benefits they bring to the field of stormwater management have made them a more prominent feature in many regulations and permitting requirements. As the benefits derived from BMP implementation are recognized and quantified, more and more regulations are requiring their use. On the other hand, funding sources have been created to support projects that include BMPs. This knowledge can help you determine how best to incorporate BMPs into your project and where you may be able to find additional resources to support development.

Depending on your climate, plants selected for stormwater BMPs should be able to survive drought conditions but also be able to tolerate "wet feet".
Focus on creating a good product
The road to recognition and success is paved with successful project design and implementation. The desire to create installations that incorporate stormwater BMPs must be backed by good design and strong support throughout all phases of development and implementation.

Work with other groups to promote and support BMP implementation
Interaction with other groups to encourage and support BMP implementation can happen in many ways. You can enlist the support of local leaders, work with municipal officials to encourage adoption of regulations or changes to submission and review procedures that support the use of BMPs, suggest alternative design options to clients, and collaborate with other professional groups to design projects that incorporate BMPs. It is possible that some of the knowledge required to create a good product must be found outside your typical project team. Expand the skill set of your team by bringing in professionals from related fields (such as landscape architecture or municipal organizations) to support project development.

Use your knowledge to help determine what works best
One of the most powerful tools you bring to the table is the technical knowledge required to design and build engineered systems. You are in an ideal position to evaluate and modify BMP design and implementation in your area to determine which practices work best and how they can be installed for optimal performance. While there are general guidelines for how and where BMPs should be installed, each must be designed to accommodate the local physical and regulatory environment. Working with municipal officials on demonstration projects is an excellent way to work through this learning process.

Next Steps

Take a look at some of the case studies to see examples of how BMPs have been integrated into projects in other areas. Think about how you might be able to bring such changes to your own projects. The planning and development aids page provides several resources to help you incorporate BMPs into project designs. Additional information, such as cost and effectiveness data, can be found in the resource links section.

The following resources may be of particular interest:

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