CLEAN OUTS

SWQ System Clean Outs, Maintenance & Repairs

Stormwater Quality treatment systems vary widely depending on a variety of factors including the size of the site, location, number of outfalls, and limits of construction. No matter what system is used, they all require regular maintenance, especially regular clean out. Maintenance requirements are based on the dictates of the Stormwater Quality Management Plan (SWQMP) as well as the manufacturer’s recommendations. Clean outs must be properly documented and cutting corners puts owners at risk of fines and penalties. With this in mind we provide our clients with all necessary documentation to prove that removed pollutants have been disposed of properly and legally.

Common Maintenance We Preform

  • LID / GSI Systems
  • Underground Detention Systems
  • Inlet / Storm Drains (Line Jetting)
  • Stormwater Pumps
  • Stormwater Filter Baskets
  • Porous Pavement
  • Detention and Retention Ponds

PUMPS

Did your Pump Die?

Nothing mechanical last forever, certainly not pumps. There are many factors that determine the lifespan of a stormwater pond pump, but among the most notable are choosing the right pump for the job and then the ongoing maintenance of the chosen pump. Both of which Construction EcoServices is here to help you with.

If your pump has stopped working, give us call. We will gladly come out to provide you a free assessment of your pump to determine whether it needs repair or replacement, as well as to inform you of your next step options.

PONDS

Regular Maintenance Keeps You Compliant and Reduces Risks

Detention ponds have many benefits and if not maintained properly, can incur great costs. Detention ponds are most often required at a development due to a large amount of impervious cover generated by the facility. That impervious cover sheds water much faster than the natural landscape. Therefore, detention ponds must be installed to regulate stormwater from leaving your site too quickly and causing greater problems downstream. These structures also help to clean water by catching trash and debris as well as filtering out some pollutants found in stormwater.

Pond Maintenance

Maintenance

Most often ponds are most often shallow earthern depressions but can also be extensive concrete structures as well. These ponds may have one to multiple inlets where water enters them and again, one to multiple outlets where the water can be released in a regulated manner. There may be various flow spreading structures and pilot channels that influence where the water goes in the pond. Those important outlets have necessary pieces such as drawdown pipes that are surrounded by trash racks.

Maintenance of detention ponds can most often be very simple. When small cost-effective measures are taken continuously, exorbitant costs down the road are minimized greatly. Vegetation management is the single most important task. Grass should be kept uniform in height as to protect the earthern material that makes up the walls of the pond. Roots hold the soil in place and tall, thick grass shades the soil in the heat of the summer as well as protects the grass from erosive rain events. Wall failure is a costly repair due to not protecting vegetation and wall structures. Keeping grass at a uniform height will discourage areas of stagnant water in the pond due to vegetation blocking flow.

Controlling erosion at inlets, near outlets and along walls is important as well. Detention ponds are made to catch sediment from the watershed. Sediment that has eroded from the pond only worsens the maintenance load of the pond. Keeping a healthy grass stand, not scalping while mowing and letting ponds dry before allowing equipment in will discourage erosion. Trees often are good for controlling erosion but in a pond the roots can damage underground equipment and any concrete structures therefore, tree growth should be managed.

Maintenance of the inlets and outlets will ensure the pond flows as designed. Keeping inlets and outlets as well as the associated trash racks free of mulch, trash and debris on a regular basis will help prevent drainage issues in the pond. When ponds do not drain properly, there are infrastructure problems that can arise due to water sitting in drainage piping. That water can back up in parking lots as well as sit in curb inlets. As water backs up into parking areas, there can be water infiltration in the pavement allowing cracks and potholes to form as well as the weakening of subgrade around those structures.
Detention ponds are a great stormwater management tool. Vegetation maintenance and cleaning of flow structures are quick and cost-effective techniques that can prevent catastrophic damage to your detention ponds.

Trees and other woody species are less often used in specific stormwater applications but can still be an important tool in erosion control.  Trees that are very leafy and produce a lot of shade should be trimmed annually to prevent over shading turfgrass.  Trees naturally shed limbs and branches as they shade themselves out.  Maintaining trees often will help remove that material and keep it from clogging outlets and drains. Excess falling leaf material can shade out turfgrass and release the tree’s oils which can stunt or kill surrounding vegetation.  Large trees and their root systems can damage concrete structures, underground components and liner material. Therefore, trees have their place in stormwater structures but should be managed actively and placed accordingly.

Pond Remediation

Remediation

Pond stabilization has been traditionally problematic in the Houston area as our soils are predominately clay below the first few feet and contain little organic material essential to the establishment and stability of long term vegetation. Houston also experiences intense rain events frequently. Poor soils and intense rain events combine to create conditions which encourage erosion of slopes and eventual slope failure. With our extensive erosion control experience, we can help with even the most difficult of ponds, employing the latest technologies to solve erosion problems.

Fertilizer can be applied in granules, or as a water-soluble mixture that is sprayed above ground or injected into the soil.  When applying fertilizer, do not expect immediate results to poor conditions. Granule fertilizers can take up to 6 months to break down into usable nutrients by plants. Water-soluble formulations often have a more rapid affect, with results showing within a month but not lasting as long as granules.  Amendments to change the soil pH are equally slow, again large changes in pH can take up to 2 years to occur. These reasons above show that a scheduled fertilization every 6 months over time will provide proper and adequate nutrition for your vegetation.

Mowing

Mowing Services

Stormwater Ponds pose a special problem for owners. Mowing slopes is much different than mowing flat ground, and requires specific equipment in order to prevent slope erosion and eventual failure requiring a costly pond remodel. We specialize in pond maintenance and take care in protecting your investment while keeping costs in check.

Trees and other woody species are less often used in specific stormwater applications but can still be an important tool in erosion control.  Trees that are very leafy and produce a lot of shade should be trimmed annually to prevent over shading turfgrass.  Trees naturally shed limbs and branches as they shade themselves out.  Maintaining trees often will help remove that material and keep it from clogging outlets and drains. Excess falling leaf material can shade out turfgrass and release the tree’s oils which can stunt or kill surrounding vegetation.  Large trees and their root systems can damage concrete structures, underground components and liner material. Therefore, trees have their place in stormwater structures but should be managed actively and placed accordingly.

Fertilization

Fertilization

Managing fertilization of vegetation can be a daunting task but understanding the basics will help smooth out the process.  Nutrient availability determines many things such as water use, re-growth, plant density and disturbance tolerance.  Providing proper nutrition will help sustain your vegetation through large rain events and blistering summer droughts.

The most important task before dusting off the spreader is to perform a soil test.  Soil tests are inexpensive and do not take a long time to perform.  Local labs and regional universities offer soil testing services.  Testing your soil will help you identify 3 important parameters: soil type, nutrient availability and soil pH.  Knowing the soil type is an indicator of how the soil will drain which will determine how fast or slow nutrients can be held in the soil for plant use.  Nutrient availability will identify what nutrients are there and give you an idea of what to add.  Finally, soil pH is also a major factor in determining fertilizer requirements as you may have to treat the soil the change the pH for the desired vegetation.

After you have done a soil test, you can select your vegetation type. Grasses, shrubs and trees all will require different levels and types of nutrients so closely review those requirements and recommendations for the parameters, soil type, nutrient composition and soil pH.  Now, let’s fertilize the soil for your new plantings or  existing vegetation.  Fertilizer is often formulated in a ratio of 3 parts, Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium or NPK for short. On a bag of fertilizer, it will have a line of 3 numbers, similar to 10-15-5, that is the ratio of NPK.  Using the soil test and your desired vegetation requirements, select the proper formulation to remedy your soils. Most garden supply centers can also decipher the soil test requirements as well.  Using the soil test again, there may be requirements to change the pH of your soil, in which there are certain amendments to achieve this.

Fertilizer can be applied in granules, or as a water-soluble mixture that is sprayed above ground or injected into the soil.  When applying fertilizer, do not expect immediate results to poor conditions. Granule fertilizers can take up to 6 months to break down into usable nutrients by plants. Water-soluble formulations often have a more rapid affect, with results showing within a month but not lasting as long as granules.  Amendments to change the soil pH are equally slow, again large changes in pH can take up to 2 years to occur. These reasons above show that a scheduled fertilization every 6 months over time will provide proper and adequate nutrition for your vegetation.

LANDSCAPING / MOWING / GRASS CARE

Keeping It All Green and Clean.

Stormwater structures have different vegetation types depending on their design and function. Therefore, let’s discuss a few vegetation types and follow with some tips on maintaining that vegetation in order to keep your structure protected.

Vegetation Management

Vegetation Management

Turfgrass
The most common vegetation type is simple turfgrass such as Bermuda grass or St. Augustine.  Turfgrass spreads out and intertwines making a thick mat over the soil, protecting slopes and other areas from erosion.  Frequent mowing encourages growth horizontally. When mowing, you should only take 1/3 of the height of the vegetation. Look at it this way, there are the roots, body and the blades of a grass plant, three parts. When you cut grass too short you are damaging the body and exposing the roots to damage.  Only taking 1/3 of the height will keep enough plant mass to continue growth, protect the roots and shade the soil during hot or dry times.  Frequent mowing also discourages weeds and woody plants that may be unsightly.

Amendments
Let’s talk about the amendments needed in a turfgrass structure.  Biannual fertilizer applications may be necessary after a proper soil test.  In structures or areas with more vehicle or foot traffic, proper fertilization will ensure a healthy turf and faster regrowth after damage. Aeration uses spikes or tubes to puncture the soil surface and allow more oxygen into the root zone.  Aeration encourages root growth and is often necessary in expansive clay soils that make up a majority of south Texas.  Weed infestation is a sign of poor nutrient availability, managing fertilizer applications and frequent mowing will detain those infestations.

Bunch Grasses
Other stormwater structures can be designed with larger bunch grasses.  These are often seen when structures are associated with the general landscape and not necessarily turf areas.  Bunch grasses grow in single clumps and the only spreading they do is leaf mass at the base of the plant. Many of the same techniques apply with bunch grasses. When cutting, only take a 1/3 of the plant mass.  Bunch grasses should be maintained as to keep water flowing around them and to prevent old growth material to clog outlet piping and trash racks.  Often, bunch grasses are used in the landscape to target nutrients that are in stormwater.  Proper soil testing and fertilization is still an important task in order to keep plants healthy.

Trees
Trees and other woody species are less often used in specific stormwater applications but can still be an important tool in erosion control.  Trees that are very leafy and produce a lot of shade should be trimmed annually to prevent over shading turfgrass.  Trees naturally shed limbs and branches as they shade themselves out.  Maintaining trees often will help remove that material and keep it from clogging outlets and drains. Excess falling leaf material can shade out turfgrass and release the tree’s oils which can stunt or kill surrounding vegetation.  Large trees and their root systems can damage concrete structures, underground components and liner material. Therefore, trees have their place in stormwater structures but should be managed actively and placed accordingly.

We maintain Them All

Construction EcoServices provides a full range of vegetation maintenance services. Contact us today:

P: 832.456.1000
E: askces@ecosvs.com

Received a Re-Permit Notice, What Next?

Learn what to do next if you have received a Notice of Stormwater Quality Requirements for your property. Harris County and the City of Houston each have a set of regulations regarding the post-construction stormwater management obligations that must be met by property owners.

  • Determine if your property is in permittable condition
  • Issues that must be resolved prior to re-permit
  • Professional Engineer Certification
  • How to avoid the cost of non-compliance

With an understanding of your requirements as a property owner or manager, this guide will go a long way towards insuring your property is compliant with stormwater quality regulations.

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WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?

Stormwater Quality (SWQ) permitting regulations exist to improve water quality and to minimize negative impacts of development on our watersheds. Without these programs, the effects that a growing community creates would have a devastating impact on our region’s already impaired rivers, streams and bayous. Counties and cities each have their own set of regulations regarding the post-construction stormwater management obligations that must be met by property owners.

When incorporating the specifics of SWQ regulatory requirements into the design of a development, the civil engineer calculates the volume of water to be treated, creates a Stormwater Quality Management Plan SWQ and selects a stormwater quality treatment feature to fit the needs of the site. The resulting design must be approved by County or City engineers and a Stormwater Quality Permit is issued to the Owner of the property.

All of this happens before construction is permitted or commenced. On occasion, the SWQ permit and the SWQMP which guides compliance; are details the property Owner or Manager may not be fully aware of. If the SWQ permit is not renewed annually as required, and/or the stormwater quality feature is not inspected and maintained according to the SWQMP, the property Owner is out of compliance and will be subject to fines.

Some may see stormwater management as just another unnecessary and unwanted cost to construction projects or property ownership and management. But, understanding the negative effects that poor or no stormwater management is causing should be a concern to us all. It affects where we live and play. It affects our marine-based food supply. It affects our dwindling water supply.

We care. It is why we do what we do.

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