Runoff As A Resource

by Jamil F. Bou-Saab, (M.ASCE), Vice Pres.; Terra Engineering, Chicago, IL,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1993, Vol. 63, Issue 10, Pg. 70-71

Document Type: Feature article


Recent studies have shown that storm-water flows from urban and industrial areas typically contain significant quantities of the same pollutants found in wastewater and industrial discharges. As a result of these studies, EPA has determined that the point-source discharge of urban runoff has to be regulated in some manner. Under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System program, a state complies by requiring storm-water permits that meet high numerical standards. But EPA may ultimately require technology-based treatment of stormwater, rather than measuring performance by the quality of a particular concentration at the end of the pipe. With that, innovative stormwater management programs are underway around the country. One solution is a strategy known as best management practices. BMP is a sweeping storm-water management philosophy, in which engineers consider runoff in the overall design of communities, highways, streets and infrastructure. The objective is to treat runoff as a resource that could recharge grounbd water aquifers and augment irrigation water supplies. Under BMP, runoff is controlled at the surface in detention basins and other drainage structures, meaning there is less need for building expensive treatment plants at the discharge point. BMP is being showcased on a $1.2 billion university campus project near Maakkah, Saudi Arabia.

Subject Headings: Stormwater management | Runoff | Best Management Practices (BMPs) | Water discharge | Industrial wastes | Water supply | Water resources

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