BMP (Best Management Practices) Overview

Overview of Best Management Practices

Best Management Practices (BMP) is a term used in Canada and the United States to describe a type of water pollution control. Historically the term has referred to auxiliary pollution controls in the fields of industrial wastewater control and municipal sewage control, while in stormwater management (both urban and rural) and wetland management, BMPs may refer to a principal control or treatment technique as well.

Beginning in the twentieth century, designers of industrial and municipal sewage pollution controls typically utilized engineered systems (e.g. filters, clarifiers, biological reactors) to provide the central components of pollution control systems, and used the term "BMPs" to describe the supporting functions for these systems, such as operator training and equipment maintenance. Stormwater management, as a specialized area within the field of environmental engineering, emerged later in the 20th century, and practitioners have used the term BMP to describe both structural or engineered control devices and systems (e.g. retention ponds) to treat polluted stormwater, as well as operational or procedural practices (e.g. minimizing use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides).

Stormwater management BMPs are control measures taken to mitigate changes to both quantity and quality of urban runoff caused through changes to land use. Generally BMPs focus on water quality problems caused by increased impervious surfaces from land development. BMPs are designed to reduce stormwater volume, peak flows, and/or nonpoint source pollution through evapotranspiration, infiltration, detention, and filtration or biological and chemical actions.

Stormwater BMPs can be classified as "structural" (i.e., devices installed or constructed on a site) or "non-structural" (procedures, such as modified landscaping practices). There are a variety of BMPs available, depending on pollutant removal capabilities.

What are Baseline BMPs?

  • Good housekeeping: Reduce spill potential, routine inspections
  • Preventive maintenance: Maintain pipes, pumps, drum/tank storage and stormwater devices
  • Visual Inspections: Signs of obvious stormwater contamination in outdoor storage and processing areas
  • Spill Prevention and Response: Spill containment of drums and tanks, spill clean-up procedures, easily accessible spill response products.
  • Sediment and Erosion Control: Control methods to high erosion areas due to topography activities or other factors.
  • Runoff Management: Flow diversion, filtering using catch basin inserts, use of sumps, berms, mitigative techniques such as vacuuming, use of sorbents.

What are Advanced BMPs?

  • Vegetated Filter Strips
  • Detention Basins and Ponds
  • Catch Basin Filters (disposable)
  • Passive Skimmers
  • Litter Removal Devices
  • Silt Fences
  • Drain Inlet Inserts
  • Permanent Catch Basin Inserts

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