Storm Water Management Services for Commercial Property Managers

Completed storm water runoff area, Pasadena, MDDo you have a bio retention pond or storm water runoff control site on your property? Maybe a planted spot like this in the parking areas or around your buildings where water runs off the pavement and sidewalks during a storm? These are Storm Water Management Controls and they need maintenance.

Notably added since 2001 as an integral part of construction, you see them everywhere.  Storm Water Management is visible on nearly every project. It’s purpose is to stop the direct flow of oil, grease, trash, debris and contaminants into the Severn River Watershed and the Chesapeake Bay.  Because we are adding so many new homes, businesses and their associated parking, sidewalks, roofs and other impervious spaces, the land and plants removed during construction which had for years been filtering rain and naturally controlling pollutants are no longer available.  You might not think its a big deal but just look at the number of parking spaces in your facility that are blackened with drippings and grease.  During a storm that film of oil is washed off the surface and goes directly into the drains unless you have storm water management controls that work.
Stormwater Ecology Diagram

For a Storm Water Control area to work properly there are specific filtering elements built-in that the water entering them is supposed to encounter long before it makes it to a drain or out to a tributary.  AMJ Landscaping not only builds them by we maintain storm water management controls for both residential and commercial use.

The following is taken from the Anne Arundel County Website:

“The streams of the Severn watershed have suffered to varying degrees from the stresses of development, caused by the increased imperviousness of pavement and roofs. Rainwater that would have percolated through soil to recharge groundwater reservoirs becomes surface runoff, flowing directly to streams and resulting in excessive peak flows after storms. The resulting erosion degrades streambanks, loading the water with silt and nutrients. The natural cleansing mechanisms provided by the soil and its organisms are circumvented when runoff flows into streams, and the increased temperatures of runoff drive off dissolved oxygen in the water.”

What I am seeing is that most have failed. Due to a lack of maintenance, many are overgrown or dead or just plain clogged up. Nearly all have some sort of wash out occurring, drains are clogged with trash and debris, plants are out of control, mulched areas are barren.stormwater runoff

Since 2008 there were inspection and maintenance regulations. This has become a hot button topic lately and will result in enforcement in the very near future.  And it’s going to cost you. The EPA will levy fines AND require restoration to working order. Then they will reinspect and hit you again every 3 years if not sooner.

Do they have the manpower you ask? How are they going to get to everyone? I’ll take my chances, you say…I hear you, but I also know that the EPA is so serious about this that the County Code Enforcement Officers are being tasked with this. The little white Jeeps and Escapes are already out there.  It won’t take much for them to stop and take a look at your site.  And really, it’s your civic duty as a local business owner and manager to protect the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

That’s where AMJ Landscaping comes in. Let our Storm Water Management Team evaluate your situation, recommend repairs and get you out in front of any potential fines. Once back up to par, AMJ Landscaping can maintain your storm water management controls monthly or quarterly to prevent larger expenses in the future.

What are we looking for?
Washouts are the number one indicator that the storm water control area is not right. I looked at two sites yesterday and saw missing stone at the edge of the concrete or asphalt transition, gravel displaced, plants dying and more weeds than you canSilted stormwater control pon count. Storm drain silting overOne site even had a 10’x30′ rut two feet deep where soil stabilization had failed. That mess has clogged up an entire sediment control space and is causing a huge wall to fail not to mention that the bio retention pond is a muddy wasteland with no biological capability at this point.






The Anne Arundel County code specifies things like growth of non native plants in bio retention ponds must be kept below 12″ in height and but cut back every 6 months, whichever occurs first. Do you have documentation to show that you are not in violation? 

Stormwater Retention Pond Overgrown

The Code also states the first tier of control in control zones is the large stone at the edge. That graduates down to #57 stone and in some cases further down to pea gravel. There are specific depths and widths associated with each tier.  These act as a filter, trapping debris right at the edge of the pavement. What I saw is that stone is migrating in heavy storms and from foot traffic, exposing the filter fabric underneath and allowing the sand base to flow out and clog the main area of the storm water management control space.

After all, the purpose of these storm water controls is to stop the oil and grease and trash from public spaces getting into the bio retention pond and ultimately keeping the rivers and bay clean by allowing the soils time to filter the runoff.

This is important stuff, very few are being maintained and County Code Enforcement is being pushed by the Federal Government Dept. of EPA to fix that situation.  Other groups like the Severn River Association are actively involved too.

AMJ Landscaping Storm Water Management can provide protection for your company or building site by maintaining your existing storm water controls. They were built to exacting standards, cost you a lot of money to install and do not need to be a thorn or major expense because you failed an inspection. They are a maintenance item just like mowing or snow removal.

Call today to discuss the options, schedule a FREE site visit and be proactive. I promise it will cost less than fines and litigation.

We will talk more about this in the upcoming weeks.

John Gallagher, AMJ Landscaping


Acorns on the Driveway in August?

I stepped out barefoot last night with the dogs and you would have thought I stepped on a bed of nails.  I have these two big oaks on either side of the yard and these little tiny acorns were everywhere.  In the lawn between them m y grass has been fading in the heat and thunderstorms are causing disease that is hard to stay ahead of but there have been a lot of sprouts from these acorns.  Nice if I was starting a tree farm.

So what is up with all this occurring in August?  The trees are simply protecting themselves.  The big trees have been sucking up all the moisture with their extensive root systems which doesn’t help the lawn stay green.  If you have browning around the drip line of your trees that’s what is happening.  According to the National Audubon Society, “contrary to superstition, acorns falling prematurely from oak trees does not indicate an earlier, colder or harsher winter. Most acorns mature in late summer and begin to drop in September or October. However, specific stresses on the oak tree, such as a lack of water, a lack of nutrients and other environmental factors, can lead to acorns dropping prematurely”.

Here is a picture I took yesterday of another tree already dropping it’s leaves. tree drops leaves in August I read that trees begin to store up sugars for the winter when they sense a change of seasons.  That would be nice since the heat and humidity here in Maryland are overwhelming.  It’s how trees naturally protect themselves.  By dropping seedlings and acorns trees are attempting to propagate the species and reduce the amount of energy put into growing acorns.  In other words, they’ve decided to cut the cycle short to sustain themselves.  Survival of the fittest.
What can AMJ Landscaping do?   AMJ Landscaping can do clean ups to keep the yard free of acorns.  We blow the hard surfaces every week when we mow so that’s free if you are a mowing customer.  AMJ  Landscaping can bring in a certified Arborist to recommend pruning, check for bugs and disease and recommend just the right deep root feedings to add nutrients for the trees.  A combination of things is available to help the trees and shrubs in your landscape get through the nasty weather conditions we are confronted with here in the Mid-Atlantic. Once stressing though, it’s tough to turn back the clock.  Put this on your list for next spring and we’ll be ahead of it next year.

Another ugly sight this week are the bagworms.  These monsters pop out almost overnight and devour the leaves of the trees.  If you see a cocoon like the one pictured Bagwormshere, it’s best to spray it with bug killer.  Once they stop squirming, let the cocoon dry out and you can remove the cocoon from the tree.  You might have to prune off the branch if it’s already been damaged like this one.  Another thing to try is to trap them as they crawl up and down the trunk of the tree.  Using duct tape and some thick grease you can DIY a set of rings around the trunk.  Space them out about 3 feet off the ground and again at 6 feet.  This way you catch them coming and going. There are special sticky goos available at your garden center too.

If you have an automatic irrigation system, AMJ Landscaping’s Irrigation Team can provide adjustments and timing changes to benefit all the plants and trees in your yard.  We can add Drip emitters directly to specifically affected plants.  Drip also makes a great water supply for gardens!  New on the market are controllers that you can use via wifi from your phone if you want the ultimate in control.  We’ve installed a few of the Hydrowise Irrigation Controllers and the software on the phone app is really easy to use.

So what to do about the marbles all over the driveway.  Get a broom or better yet a blower and be careful walking to the mailbox…you can’t stop mother nature.