Throughout history, rain has always been something that society has tried to control. According to Nicholas Buesking from Land8, this strategy has “yielded massively expensive infrastructure, frequently overloaded systems, depleted aquifers, and degraded water quality.”
Let’s examine a number of misconceptions made by designers in environmentally-conscious stormwater management.
Misconception #1: Permeable Pavement Solves Everything. Water does not endlessly disappear into the ground below. Eventually, the subgrade becomes saturated, the sub-base holds water as it is designed to do, and the pavement floods when there is no place for the water to go.
Misconception #2: Drainage Emitters Are Simple. When disconnecting downspouts, drain pipe is commonly used to move runoff safely away from a house. As the water reaches the end of the pipe, it spills out from the emitter. Many designers fail to account that these systems rely on gravity to discharge the water.
Misconception #3: Perforated Pipes Carry Water. Perforated pipe effectively has one of two functions: collect groundwater or release it. It can only ever perform one of these functions at a time. For this reason, perforated pipe should either be placed as a collector at the beginning of a pipe system or as a dispersion method at the end of the system.
Misconception #4: French Drains Solve Everything. French drains are not inexhaustible dumping grounds for stormwater. Their capacity is limited and limited further by the aggregate fill.
Misconception #5: Rain Gardens Don’t Need Backup Plans. No backup plan for a rain garden means that a temporary pond will inevitably appear.
As Buesking states, no stormwater management technique is a one-size-fits-all solution. Storage capacities, infiltration rates, climate, contributing watershed, and receiving watershed must be considered.
Check out the full article on Land8’s website.