Residential Stormwater Best Management Practices

Stormwater runoff is the number one cause of polluted streams and rivers in Northern Virginia. When it rains and snows, water runs off streets, driveways, yards and parking lots and mixes with pollutants, such as litter, fertilizer, pet waste, road salt, and auto fluids. These pollutants then enter storm drains on the street and are discharged directly into nearby waterways.

Residents can do their part to reduce stormwater pollution by implementing best management practices (BMP's) around their homes and communities. BMP's can reduce the quantity of stormwater runoff and help to reduce the amount of pollutants, e.g., nutrients, bacteria, and salts, that enter into the environment. BMP's also often provide aesthetic benefits to properties by utilizing native plans and other natural features to absorb water. 

BMP Examples:

Rain GardensRain Garden

Garden spaces that are typically placed in low-lying areas or created as depressions to direct rainwater off of impervious surfaces with a pipe or swale. Rain gardens typically use native plants to most effectively absorb and infiltrate rainwater as it collects in the depression. Read more about rain gardens here.

Permeable PaversPermeable Paver

Pavement in a driveway or other area of a property with pervious material that allows water to infiltrate into the ground (as opposed to traditional asphalt/concrete in which water runs off into a nearby storm drain).

Rain Barrels and CisternsRain Barrel

A barrel or cistern that is connected to a home’s downspout to collect rainwater and prevent runoff into the yard or nearby storm drain. Installations can come in a range of shapes and sizes and typically include a nozzle to release water when the barrel is filled. Collected water can be slowly released or used for gardening and watering plants. 

Conservation LandscapingConservation Lanscaping

Replacement of turf grass, bare soil, and/or non-native plants with native plants. As opposed to rain gardens, conservation landscaping can be incorporated anywhere on a property, including garden beds or raised beds.

Additional Information:

NVRC regularly provides workshops and other training opportunities for residents to learn more about BMP's and local incentive programs to acquire BMP features. Please contact Rebecca Murphy for upcoming workshops or additional resources.