5 Stormwater Treatment System Maintenance Myths
Tall Tales Equal System Fails
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No other topic in the stormwater industry seems to involve more myths and untruths than water quality maintenance requirements. Likely, this is owed to a lack of post-construction regulatory oversight that would otherwise verify the true limits of a treatment system’s operational efficiency following a length of time without maintenance.
In the absence of regulatory management, highly questionable and/or inaccurate claims about how frequently a system needs inspection and cleanout can be made by parties indifferent to whether systems frequently perform well post-installation and/or what the resulting maintenance will cost end users.
debunk first myth
Hydro International doesn’t just design and manufacture a variety of stormwater treatment systems – we also run a full-service maintenance division. Our team is uniquely positioned to inspect and maintain a variety of green infrastructure and manufactured treatment systems. And that includes our own – in addition to competitor units.
Do these five stormwater treatment-related maintenance myths surprise you?
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It’s better to oversize treatment systems so they can go longer without maintenance.
The larger the system ...
The larger the system, the more difficult and expensive it is to maintain, particularly if it hasn’t been serviced for years.
The image on the left shows a stormwater separator that was not maintained for over five years. The cost of digging through caked and compacted sediment before powerwashing and vactoring turned out to be more expensive than the cost of doing annual maintenance in each of all five of those years. For oversized systems, the price tag is significantly higher.
Oversized systems can cost end users thousands in capital and in maintenance costs.
Some treatment systems can go years without maintenance.
rare exceptions ...
With very rare exceptions, our experience has shown us that no separator, filter or LID system can go more than 12-16 months without maintenance.
Ponds that have gone years without maintenance require dredging which can cost up to $10,000 or more.
Some stormwater systems with self-cleaning screens or filter modules do not need to be maintained.
Systems with self-cleaning mechanisms ...
Systems with self-cleaning mechanisms can extend maintenance cycles, but no system can go without maintenance indefinitely.
Some manufactured treatment systems cannot be maintained.
Part of regulatory acceptance ...
Part of regulatory acceptance for any treatment device involves review of the operation and maintenance manual to ensure maintenance is possible.
Pictured left is the Downstream Defender® stormwater separator with its sump being cleaned with a vactor truck. When maintenance is done regularly, no confined space entry is required.
More frequent or routine maintenance can mean less confined space entry to service.
Manufactured systems should be sized based on their sump depth.
Stormwater systems should ...
Stormwater systems should be sized based on water quality treatment rates as per the regulations, not on storage capacity.
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