In an effort to relieve flooding in their neighborhoods, some communities in Brunswick, North Carolina were permitted to pump floodwater into Oak Island and Ocean Isle Beach. According to StarNews online reporter Jason Gonzalez, pumping floodwater is a sparingly used practice that temporarily relieves storm drain flooding. Considering the type of weather these communities experienced for much of August, though, the need for desperate measures was justified:


Since Aug. 1, the region has received about 5.5 inches of rain. The standing water made it impossible for emergency vehicles to access parts of Southeast 74th and Southeast 79th streets, according to Mayor Betty Wallace.

The water reached about 14 inches at its deepest, Oak Island Town Manager Steve Foster said, “the town made the call to pump the water into the ocean on Aug. 5 and was given approval on Aug. 6.”

Under different circumstances, dumping storm water runoff into the ocean isn’t a wise move because this can promote the growth of bacteria in the water system. A better solution would be enacting a stormwater BMP (best management practice) that not only reduces the risk of flooding, but protects the environment as well. Solutions from stormwater BMP experts like those at StormChambers are designed to be as eco-friendly as possible, while keeping the best interests of people in mind.

One such solution utilizes underground ‘detention’ systems that store large volumes of storm water runoff for a period of time. If used in conjunction with a sediment removal system, these detention systems serve to remove harmful organisms and elements from stormwater runoffs before they are pumped to nearby streams and lakes.

A detention system also does more than protect bodies of water from harmful stormwater runoffs; it also prevents sediment buildup in sewers and storm drains. This is a major concern for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has required construction sites to have an efficient storm water runoff control system in place to help reduce flooding. The EPA also encourages utilizing stormwater BMPs to protect trees and our local ecosystems from further storm damage as well as recognizing the importance of forests in preserving human health.

Perhaps Brunswick communities might want to consider the same approach, knowing that stronger storms are bound to come their way in the future. Saving human lives from flooding certainly takes precedence, but sacrificing the environment in the process is bound to have some long-term consequences.

(Source: Stormwater runoff can elevate bacteria levels, StarNews Online, August 11, 2014)