Utilizing Undisturbed Areas in Stormwater Management

The preservation of undisturbed natural areas, as well as using them as buffers, is a principle that can be utilized to:

  • minimize the impact on the environment
  • reduce development costs
  • reduce the need for grading and clearing
  • facilitate the removal of pollutants, contaminants and sediment by means of infiltration, biodegradation, precipitation, ion exchange and absorption
  • allows water to infiltrate stormwater runoff

The theory behind this concept is to interrupt runoff before major flood events occur, dispersing the water evenly over the area. Key benefits to this concept include:

  • vegetated areas filter the runoff
  • infiltration of runoff takes place naturally
  • reduces flow rates and velocity
  • naturally occurring depressions provide inexpensive detention and storage for runoff

Directing stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces to planted vegetated areas, undisturbed natural areas, riparian buffer zones, and other undisturbed natural areas is an effective strategy to manage stormwater runoff, giving the water time to percolate into the ground.

Natural Vegetation Areas

During construction, disturbed land often causes and allows increased volumes of runoff and increased sediment loadings. Soil erosion can cause water quality issues, causing degradation of aquatic habitat and promoting the growth of algae and nuisance weeds. This means that vegetation should be maintained and preserved whenever possible and plans should be made to make it happen before any site disturbance begins.

When natural vegetation is left undisturbed on a building site it provides multiple benefits which include:

  • provision of natural buffer zones
  • offers protection against wind and water erosion
  • removal of sediment and pollutants from runoff

Some of the key benefits associated with allowing natural vegetation to remain include:

  • acts as a buffer zone against noise
  • reduction of erosion
  • increased absorption of runoff
  • reduces the volume and slows the velocity of runoff
  • traps sediment
  • provides natural wildlife habitat
  • provides shade
  • often requires less maintenance than “typical/standard” landscapes

Allowing natural vegetation to remain intact works extremely well in site locations that have high soil erosion rates, or in areas where erosion control measures are hard to install, establish or maintain. Leaving natural areas intact can be especially beneficial where endangered or unique plant species may be protected.

Riparian Buffer Zones

Riparian buffer zones run along the edges of creeks, channels, rivers, streams and other water bodies. Vegetation found growing naturally in riparian buffer zones generally includes grass, shrubs and trees. Riparian buffer zones provide natural habitat to fish and other wildlife, supplying food, cover and thermal protection. Other benefits of these natural areas include:

  • helps to maintain the integrity of shorelines and waterway channels
  • removes pollutants, contaminants and sediment from runoff
  • serves as wildlife corridors
  • serves as green space and recreational space, containing amenities such as walking trails and parks
  • provides means for large volumes of runoff to leave the area

Flexible Liners and Stormwater Management

As you can see, there are lots of different aspects to stormwater management and many of its strategies rely on features that allow water to percolate into the ground naturally where it will recharge underground water sources. There are times, however, when stormwater runoff is viewed as a resource rather than a nuisance. In these instances, the desire is to capture and retain it for future use. If this is the case, then the water needs to be prevented from infiltrating/percolating into the ground. This is where flexible liners come into the picture.

Rather than dumping runoff from drainpipes directly into a waterway, the ocean, or a lake, the water can be captured and held in a retaining pond instead. When there is no natural body of water to absorb the runoff, a lined and well-constructed pond may be the best option.

Stormwater retention ponds, also known as wet ponds, are ponds created specifically to treat and store stormwater runoff. They are permanent bodies of standing water. Forebays and catch basins can be set up as part of the design of the retention pond to “pre-treat” the water through nutrient uptake and sedimentation prior to its entry into the main body of water.

There are many applications in a stormwater management system where flexible liners can be used. From initial catchment situations such as catch basins, to more permanent storage solutions such as retention ponds, to erosion control and discharge areas such as drainage ditches, to covers where evaporation needs to be discouraged, to the creation of green roofs and many other applications, flexible liners provide the ultimate answer to your stormwater management needs. BTL Liner’s AquaArmor, a multi-layered polyethylene (RPE) material, is the strongest, most reliable flexible liner on the market today, and it’s the perfect option for many stormwater management applications. Flexible liners are easy to shape and insert in new and existing installations.

Benefits of using a flexible liner include:

  • relative low installation costs
  • custom fabrication allows for factory seam sealing
  • lightweight
  • easy to modify, allowing pipes to be moved, new holes to be cut and old holes patched, when a high durability material such as RPE is used
  • durable, lasting decades especially when installed away from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays
  • easy to inspect and test for leaks
  • smooth surface improves the cleaning process
  • resists damage from chemical stormwater contaminants, especially if a multi-layered liner such as RPE is chosen

Choosing the wrong flexible liner will only lead to unnecessary repair and maintenance costs. Some liners are unable to tolerate the chemical exposure often present in stormwater runoff. Others are too thick or too heavy to manipulate into the small confines needed in some parts of the stormwater system.

BTL Liner’s ArmorPro is the best option for areas in the stormwater system that are likely to contain chemical contaminants. ArmorPro is designed to withstand the harshest chemicals; and because it is a multi-layer RPE (reinforced polyethylene) liner, it is thinner and lighter than other chemical-resistant liners.

BTL Liner’s AquaArmor works extremely well in areas that require less chemical resistance such as fountains, wastewater art, green roofs, etc.

Both products RPE formulations contain layers of high- and low-density polyethylene. RPE provides the benefits of both HDPE and LDPE as well as having a reinforced layer.  Best of all, you don’t have to choose between an HDPE or LDPE product.

You don’t have to settle for what’s in your area either. BTL Liners is happy to ship any amount of RPE liner anywhere in the world, ensuring you always get the reliable materials you need for important stormwater management projects.


Liners by BTL

AquaArmor Pond Liner

The most versatile liner on the market today, AquaArmor maximizes protection from harmful UV rays, tear resistance and punctures that cause leaks. Simply the best liner on the market.

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