How a Texas Utility is Going Back to the Basics to Update SWMP (Source: Stormwater Solutions)

Dec 20, 2023

By Abby Stanhouse

Houston, Texas, also referred to as the Bayou City, is home to winding waterways that flow through the city. Bayous are normally slow moving, sometimes marshy, waterways that lead to streams, rivers, lakes and bays while providing an eco- system which supports vegetation and wildlife. Houston bayous play a critical role in flood control: collecting stormwater runoff from adjacent urban areas and storing the volume as it flows downstream.

Stormwater runoff is produced by rain or snowmelt, creating runoff sheets that flow over impervious areas such as pavement, roads, building roofs, construction sites and industrial facilities. As the runoff sheets flow over impervious surfaces, it can pick up trash, chemicals, bacteria, fats, oils and grease (FOG) and other pollutants. As the sheet flow travels to water bodies, it carries contaminants, which can prove harmful to streams, rivers, lakes and bays. These harmful impacts can include compromising natural habitat, decreasing bio- diversity, contaminating drinking water sources and the designation of hazardous areas. Urban areas typically have higher concentrations of impervious areas and point sources, and therefore a higher potential for increased contamination.