Due to strict detention requirements in the City of Houston and Harris County, problems can arise very quickly for groups working through the preliminary engineering stage of a project. With added issues such as a particularly shallow outfall, and TXDOT approval, due diligence is a prerequisite to beginning any such project. One example of a project in which performing due diligence in the beginning stages saved both time and energy was a project presented to Construction EcoServices and a partnering engineering firm. The site needed a solution that could work in a 3.5’ section and detain 21,140 cubic feet in a very condensed area which also happened to outfall into a TXDOT right of way.Read More
Concrete pipe and catch basins has been a common tool for engineers to convey runoff from impervious areas, but traditional grey infrastructure isn’t always the solution. This is a scenario that plays out regularly during downpours in older regions of Fort Worth, especially on Texas Christian University’s (TCU) campus. Flooding in North Texas during 2015 and 2016 made this problem even more apparent, with some areas receiving more than double the average annual rainfall. TCU took steps to solve this problem by taking advantage of next generation Low Impact Development (LID) practices.Read More
A common issue with pond slopes in the greater Houston area is loss of adequate vegetation. Quality vegetation is vital to maintaining a functioning slope as a quality root structure is what keeps all dirt in place. Langham Creek YMCA was approaching their deadline for their annual Stormwater Quality permit renewal. Being their stormwater consultants for the property, we advised them of the challenges they were experiencing. The issues were lack of adequate vegetation in various areas of their SWQ pond as well as excessive rilling and erosion on the slopes. These conditions would prevent the Engineer from certifying that the pond was in compliance with Harris County regulations and would prevent them from renewing their annual Stormwater Quality permit.Read More
Cities all over Texas are beginning their annual budget cycle in order to be able to pass a balanced budget by the end of September. Public Works officials have identified their street maintenance priorities and are preparing to justify their budget to the City Councils. There is never enough money or resources to satisfy all the needs of a City or County. But what if I told you there was a way to stretch your street maintenance dollars. What if I told you that the streets that you repave this year can get 50 percent or more life expectancy and at the same time, be more rut and crack resistant extending the normal degradation of the pavement condition index.
The innovative and forward thinking officials at the City of Seguin asked that question and have taken the first step to armor their roads. City Engineer, Joe Ramos, PE, and Public Works Manager, John Donnelly asked the right questions and got the right answers.Read More
Stabilized Construction Exits (SCE)
One of the most important tools in preventing stormwater pollution from a construction site is the Stabilized Construction Exit (SCE). Also referred as - Stabilized Construction Access, Construction Exit, Exit, Rock Exit, etc. These can be made of various materials, however, the majority are done with rock. The specification for a rock exit is very specific. This type of BMP, if not done per spec and not maintained regularly, is one of the major citizen complaints that initiates a visit by a city or MS4 inspector. This ultimately could lead to violation of compliance and costly fines. The spec is as follows:
The stormwater and Civil Engineering Industry is one of the most highly regulated markets in the United States. Recently, within that market, one particular topic of discussion consistently comes up. - That their simply are no easy sites left when it comes to civil design and the stormwater regulations associated with it.
This isn't entirely true. There are various stormwater technologies that actually make regulations work in favor of the developer. Low Impact Development (LID) is not only a more environmentally conscious solution to stormwater civil design, it can also be a more cost-effective solution.
For instance, it may allow a developer to take a space with site constraints, that would have been too expensive to develop or simply not feasible using traditional methods and transform the site into a viable, economical, and environmentally conscious showcase for the developer.Read More
When it comes to the diversity of permeable pavement products on the market, it can be difficult to decide which one is best for your project. The client usually wants the cheapest option, leaving the designer in situation where performance and cost conflicts. In Texas and Louisiana the cheapest upfront option ends up being “plastic grid” permeable pavements. The concept behind this type of system is that the plastic grid provides structural support, while the voids are filled with angular chip rock. The grid structure filled with the stone provides the structural support for the traffic, while allowing stormwater to infiltrate the voids into a stone subbase. More often than not, there is an underdrain that conveys the water to the storm sewer system. The end result looks very similar to a gravel parking lot.Read More
Many local, state and federal regulators have looked at green infrastructure (GI) as a great way to deal with their stormwater quality requirements. In doing so, they have put GI in a box, forgetting the reason the movement began in the first place; to mimic predevelopment hydrology.Read More
Inlet protection barriers are necessary to filter silt and sediment from stormwater before entering the drainage system. When the wrong BMP is used and fails, not only are you in direct violation of the Clean Water Act, but it often leads to flooding; which can delay construction activity, and cause costly maintenance regimens.Read More