August is water quality awareness month. At the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) the Watershed Restoration Division’ entire focus is water protection year-round! The Watershed Restoration Division is responsible for Stormwater Best Management Practices (BMP). What does that mean?
Stormwater BMPs include physical structures, the use of plants and root systems to soak up rainwater, and maintenance practices to treat, prevent and reduce water pollution entering local streams!
When it rains – surfaces like roads, sidewalks, and roofs do not allow water to soak into the ground. As a result, anything left on the ground such as litter and pet waste will flow along with this water into storm drains and eventually local rivers and streams.
Stormwater BMPs are designed to help reduce water pollution. They reduce or eliminate pollution before they reach local streams by slowing down water, filtering pollution, and providing habitat! Stormwater BMPs come in all sizes and shapes and can be small to very large like ponds. The small stormwater BMPS receive water from a small area – such as one side of a street. While large Stormwater ponds can be as large as a regional pond with many acres draining to them. An example is the Wheaton Branch storm water pond – 800 acres drain to this pond including the Wheaton urban district!
Below is an example of a smaller Stormwater BMP you may see while driving in the Forest Estates community in Silver Spring, MD in Montgomery County.
There are more than 17,000 Stormwater BMPs (of all types and sizes) all over Montgomery County protecting rivers and streams and eventually the Chesapeake! Stormwater BMPs may be in private parking or public parking areas, right of ways, libraries and possibly even your yard!
Learn more about these practices (you may even have one on your property) at https://montgomerycountymd.gov/water/stormwater/