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Stormwater workshop series

Feb. 20, 2020

Over 45 guests attended the first of a four-part series of stormwater workshops held on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020 at the University of Delaware Carvel Research and Education Center in Georgetown.

The workshops are made possible by the Sussex Conservation District (SCD), University of Delaware Cooperative Extension and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. Each workshop will address seasonal issues encountered by property owners and will provide a holistic approach to stormwater and open space management.

The first workshop introduced stormwater facilities, common drainage concerns and landscaping stormwater facilities with native plants.

Jessica Watson, sediment and stormwater program manager at SCD, spoke on the history of the sediment and stormwater program in Delaware and the process by which plans are implemented and approved by SCD. Watson covered the various types of stormwater conveyance systems including wet, dry and infiltration ponds, underground stormwater systems, bioswales, bioretention cells, filter strips, constructed wetlands and vegetated roofs as well as the maintenance responsibilities and requirements of each.

“We urge property owners and homeowners associations (HOAs) to contact us before there is a problem. In addition, we recommend HOAs hire professionals to maintain and enhance the stormwater facilities and open space within a community,” said Watson.

Matthew Messina, equipment project manager at SCD, spoke on drainage concerns and how SCD can provide technical assistance to property owners, HOAs and municipalities that need to address serious drainage issues. Messina discussed best management practices (BMPs) to correct drainage concerns impacting Sussex County such as pipe failures resulting in sinkholes, standing water, tax ditches, erosion and embankment stabilization.

“Due to the lack of topographic relief and varying water table, drainage issues are common throughout Sussex County. We want you to understand how your stormwater facilities work and to contact us with serious drainage concerns. Our goal is to provide assistance wherever possible,” said Messina.

Jim Passwaters, owner of Sussex Landscaping, discussed the benefits of landscaping stormwater ponds, the associated maintenance and how native plants assist stormwater facilities.

“Native plants help filter pollution from runoff, assist with erosion issues, enhance the aesthetics of stormwater facilities and provide a natural habitat for many beneficial species. Also, many communities are inundated with geese; proper implementation of native plants in the buffer zone can reduce these numbers as well as provide filtration of excess nutrients,” said Passwaters.

Envirotech Environmental Consulting, Inc., LINNE Industries, Inc., Solitude Lake Management and Tributaries Ecological Restoration, were on site to provide information, discuss concerns and offer guidance on stormwater BMPs with attendees.

To register for remaining workshops in the series visit www.sussexconservation.org/events.

To view presentation materials visit the homeowner and HOA resources.

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Jessica Watson, sediment and stormwater program manager at SCD, presenting at the stormwater workshop.

 

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Matt Messina, equipment program project manager at SCD, presenting at the stormwater workshop.

 

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Jim Passwaters, owner of Sussex Landscaping, presenting on native plants at the stormwater workshop.

 

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Jackelyn Toggart and James Powell of Envirotech Environmental Consulting, Inc. brought an interactive display to the stormwater workshop.

 

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Craig and Sandra Burton of LINNE Industries showed off the PondHawk system, a solar-powered subaquatic aeration unit at the stormwater workshop.

 

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Greg Blackham of Solitude Lake Management listens to a guest at the stormwater workshop.

 

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Burr Monroe, owner of Tributaries Ecological Restoration, and Trevor Frederick of Deeley Insurance discuss best management practices at the stormwater workshop.