During Monday’s heavy rain, I was out during lunch and decided to grab some runoff samples from various parking lot areas in Boone. Particularly, I was interested in comparing the new pervious parking lot at Casey and Casey Law offices with an impervious surface, such as the mall area. You can see by the two samples that there was a big difference in the two parking areas water quality.
First off, what is a BMP? According to the EPA, a BMP (Best Management Practice) is a vague term, broadly used to describe the most effective, feasible method that does the job. In the context of storm water management, it is often used to mean a structure or technology used to manage or treat the water such as a rain garden, catch basin, stormwater wetland, pervious parking, cistern, or other filtering system.
During the rainstorm on Monday, I was able to capture the dirty water coming off the impervious parking at the mall. Impervious just means that water is unable to penetrate the surface, so all the salts, oil, gas, and other car fluids sitting on the parking lot are picked up by the stormwater and then runs off into the nearby creek. I also collected water from the pervious lot, which allows rainwater to infiltrate at the surface rather than run off.
You can definitely tell which water trout would prefer to live in, people would rather recreate in, and of course which water would be easier to clean for human consumption. Everyone can do his or her part to keep our water clean. To learn more, contact the Watauga County Cooperative Extension at 264-3061 for upcoming workshops related to stormwater BMP’s.