A significant concern for Australian business owners is stormwater management. Developing an effective stormwater management plan is a crucial element in ensuring that your business runs into as few issues as possible by complying with environmental regulations. To help you understand and to accurately take part in stormwater management, below is an overview of what stormwater management is why it is significant to your business, the goal of a stormwater management plan, and what techniques you can effectively put in place to reduce pollution to water in your area.
One of the greatest challenges that the Australian government, businesses, and community is currently dealing with is ecologically sustainable development. Ecologically sustainable development is the process of using and conserving community resources. This process is implemented to increase the quality of life for current and future Australian citizens. To achieve ecologically sustainable development, which can increase business and community productivity, stormwater quality is necessary.
According to a report published by the Australian government, stormwater management takes into account water quality considerations to reduce the negative impact on aquatic ecosystems, river health, lakes, estuaries, and the marine environment. The objectives of stormwater management within urban areas are to control flooding and erosion, control hazardous materials from infiltrating the waterways, reduce the effect of stormwater on the business community and infrastructure, and to decrease health hazards to the community. As a business owner, you have a duty regarding the stormwater on your premises.
Business Owner Duties in Australia
According to the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP), every business owner has a duty regarding stormwater drainage on their premises. The DEHP states that you essentially are required to ensure that all water that enters the stormwater network from your property is as free from contaminants as possible.
A few elements that absolutely must not enter the stormwater drainage system are substances such as:
- Dust, and other pollutants.
You should also keep in mind that while these substances should not deliberately be washed into your stormwater network management system, they also should not enter the system through rainwater or wind. This means that you have a duty to have a stormwater management plan in place to prevent this from occurring.
When it comes to stormwater management, every industry is going to be different. The government has posted a number of publications regarding stormwater management codes for each specific industry here. For example, Industrial, Retail, and Commercial industries need to identify existing stormwater drains and must have a clean-up kit in place in case of an emergency. Items such as litter, paper, plastic, food matter, cigarette butts, and other items must be managed and prevented from entering the stormwater system, and a treatment system to manage stormwater must be in place. There are also guidelines in place on what to do with sub-surface water.
The Goal of a Stormwater Management Plan
The government puts stormwater management regulations in place for a reason. Not only does stormwater management ensure that the business and community are not negatively impacted, but it is also done in order to increase the water supply. Water is a highly valuable resource in every Australian community, and one of the main ways that the community attains its supply is through stormwater. By ensuring that stormwater is collected efficiently and safely, the water collected leads to a sufficient supply for the entire community. In addition, by managing stormwater, the water can be safe to use for a variety of purposes.
To ensure that proper stormwater management techniques are used on your property, below are a few suggestions to help minimise pollutants that enter into your property’s stormwater network.
Stormwater Pits are pre-manufactured pits to include a silt basket for an easy and quick accumulation of sediment and other materials. They are designed to remove 99% of the particles that try to enter the stormwater system. They replace the conventional stormwater pit. One of the main benefits of this product is that it also leads to considerable savings when used compared to the costs of end of line systems.
Stormwater filters are a geotextile filter that has hydro-carbon retention capabilities. This temporary filter can be fitted to a stormwater pit quickly and economically. This option is effective for controlling sediment and silt runoff from entering your stormwater system. The unit measures 1.2m x 1.2m, which means that it can be conveniently fitted into your pit without an issue. Installation of this option is also extremely easy because it does not require cutting concrete and digging pits. Overall, this leads to less expense and downtime on your business.
Keep in mind that if you do choose this option, you will need to clean it regularly. The cleaning depends on how much stormwater is running into your system. It is also ideal that you replace the filter every three months to ensure optimal operation.
One of the most common methods utilised by business owners is stormwater screens. These are customised screens for pits that require rubbish, debris, and silt control. The baskets are made out of stainless steel, ally or poly so that you can be confident that the product will not rust and that it will also remain durable over time.
The screens are typically used as pre-treatment mechanisms and they also work to extend the life of downstream equipment such as pumps, filters, and valves. If you need a custom option, your request can be facilitated. Keep in mind that this is a pre-treatment option. There are other methods that you will need to utilise to ensure that you are properly complying with government regulations regarding stormwater management systems on your property.
The next and more traditional option is silt socks. This item is also made from geotextile. The silt socks are over-locked at the edge and they are placed upstream of the drainage system. The socks are made from 90-micron geotextile, they are needle punched, and they are securely manufactured to ensure that the sock withstands Australian conditions.
Vehicle Wash Mats
If your business typically deals with washing vehicles, then a vehicle wash mat is also a great solution. The wash mats are used for weed and seed washdown applications and other various applications such as workshops, detailing and auto business. These strong and reliable mats reduce the spread of seed that can destroy crops and cause environmental damage; they reduce the impact on the stormwater system by containing wash water before it goes down the stormwater drain. The mats are also able to be collapsed and they also work as either a permanent or temporary solution to stormwater management. Another great feature regarding this product is that it can also be used as a large spill tray or containment area for leaking equipment, refuel applications and the list goes on. The mats are highly durable, as they are able to withstand conventional wear and tear that affects many other stormwater management products on the market.
Weighted Drain Covers
Weighted drain covers are also an easy solution that you can be implemented to manage stormwater quality and spills that could harm stormwater on your premises. These covers seal the stormwater pit so that liquids and other types of contaminants are unable to enter your stormwater drainage system. This gives you enough time to clean up a spill and ensure that the area is free from harmful liquids.
As you’ve already gathered, as a business owner, understanding and implementing an effective stormwater management plan is extremely important. Stormwater management is not only necessary because you are required to comply with government code and regulations, but also because your business also relies on stormwater management to thrive. The above techniques are each an ideal solution to compliance and ensuring that you are making the best decision for your business and implementing best practice. In addition, these products are easily customizable so that you can have them tailored to your own needs.