To start with its important to know the difference between stormwater and rainwater. Stormwater is the water that drains off your roof into the gutters and downpipes and onto land or into drains. Its also refers to the rain that falls onto roads, driveways, and footpaths that flows down the roadside gutter into the stormwater drains. Rainwater on the other hand refers to the rain that falls on the roof and can be harvested in a rainwater tank. Its generally much higher quality as stormwater carries pollutants, chemicals and soil and when not properly managed. And if it’s not properly managed, stormwater can end up having a negative impact on your home and the surrounding environment.
How Stormwater Can Affect You and Your Home
So, why does stormwater concern you anyway? There are various reasons, but we list a few for you below:
1. Contamination Risk
Stormwater can make its way into different landscapes, picking up waste, litter and fluids that end up in natural bodies of water. Soon, it will eventually end up in your drinking water — and everything stormwater picks up isn’t something you want in your body.
In Australia, sewer and stormwater management are separate from each other. While stormwater management and treatment is a must, you can do your part as a homeowner.
2. Clogged Sewers
Stormwater also picks up debris and litter from different landscapes. As it makes its way into the sewers, the debris and litter are left to clog up the system. As a result, our neighbourhood and general area can suffer from flooding. If the flooding gets worse, it can severely damage vegetation and homes.
3. Environmental Pollution
Once again, contaminated stormwater will make its way into natural bodies of water. When contaminated, our lakes and ponds can become unsafe to swim in or fish from quickly. Natural ecosystems and vegetation also suffer.
How to Manage Stormwater
Homeowners can always make a difference! Reducing stormwater’s effects can benefit you and your neighbourhood in the long run. To mitigate the effects of stormwater to you and your home, you can step up and do the following:
1. Plan your landscaping
The way your home and garden is set up, and even the way you use it, can change how stormwater impacts you and your area. Here are some tips for better management through landscaping:
- Resist chemicals for lawns and gardens. Stop water runoff from being heavily contaminated by reducing chemicals and fertilisers you use in your garden.
- Retain vegetation on your land. There is less chance of erosion and nutrients can still be present.
- Install porous driveway materials. The usual materials in driveways have their risks and won’t provide relief for the stormwater. Porous material aids in reducing runoff and adds financial benefits for your home.
2. Invest in quality roofing, downpipes and green roofs
Rain hits your roof first and foremost. From there, you can make changes to help stormwater drain and absorb better instead of contributing to pollution and flooding.
- Use rain gutters and downpipes. Redirect runoff to safe areas where they can be drained or collected for lawn and garden use.
- Consider a green roof. Improve air quality while filtering and absorbing stormwater with green roofing.
- Look into sustainable roofing. Asphalt can contribute to chemicals in stormwater. Consider sustainable alternatives to reduce it.
3. Capture excess water
While landscaping and roofing can filter out stormwater and redirect it easily, you’ll have to manage the excess water when it arrives on land. Some ways you can do so involve the following:
- Try underground roofs. Use plastic sheets by your home’s foundation and to let the water slope away instead of collecting.
- Install dry wells. You can use dry wells to store stormwater underground. Dry wells can be done under grass and hardscapes.
- Make swales. Man-made swales are sloping, shallow ditches you can fill with porous material. They’re effective in managing water runoff, while at the same time filtering all pollutants.
Stormwater can have significant consequences if not managed properly. Each homeowner can take up individual responsibility. By following minimal changes and installing the proper systems, you can greatly reduce stormwater and its adverse effects.
If you need your stormwater drainage, downpipes or gutters repaired or replaced, give Newcastle Plumbing Kings a call and we can come and provide a free quote.