Maintaining Privately Owned 

Stormwater Management Facilities

and Runoff Reduction Practices

A Citizen's Guide


What is a Stormwater Management Facility?

Stormwater Management Facilities, or SMFs, are structures designed to reduce the impacts of pollutants and increased stormwater runoff on local streams caused by development. They are an essential part of the region's efforts to protect aquatic habitats and maintain local water quality. However, SMFs will not function effectively and may completely fail if they are not properly maintained. Once a SMF fails, it will no longer perform its intended functions and it is often very expensive to repair.

Owners of SMFs must maintain them in order to ensure they perform as intended. Whether you are an individual property owner, a homeowners association representative, or a residential/commercial property manager, this guide outlines basic maintenance and planning tasks that will help keep your SMF functioning properly.

Stormwater Management Facilities
and Other Runoff Reduction Practices

  • Dry Retention Pond

  • Wet Detention Pond

  • Bio-Filter/Bio-Retention Area

  • Created Wetlands

  • Underground Sand Filter

  • Grassed Swale

  • Manufactured Unit

  • Porous Pavement

  • Stream Buffer Enhancements

  • Equivalent Forest Protection

  • Disconnected Impervious Areas

  • Individual Home/Lot BMPs (such as a rain barrel or rain garden)

What Type of SMF Do You Have?

There are many types of SMFs. Taking a moment to understand what kind of SMF you have and how it works will help you to better plan for its maintenance needs. Click on the photo for more information.

Extended Detention Basins (Dry Ponds)
Dry ponds are designed to hold water temporarily after a storm, and no water will remain if it is functioning properly. 

Retention Basins (Wet Ponds)
Wet ponds contain a permanent pool of water much like a lake.

Biofilters (Rain Gardens)
Biofilters, or "rain gardens' as they are often called, are shallow, vegetated depressions that store and treat stormwater runoff. 

Grassed Swales
Grassed swales are concave, earthen conveyance systems designed to simply transfer runoff.

How are Stormwater Management Facilities Maintained?

A thoughtful SMF maintenance program will save money and time in the long run. Key points to remember as you read through this guide include: 

  • Identify Facility Characteristics and Maintenance Needs
    Understand how your facility works and its specific maintenance needs. While this guide includes general information on the maintenance needs of common
    SMFs, valuable information can also be gained by consulting with your local government. 

  • Define Maintenance Tasks, Personnel, and Equipment
    Defining maintenance tasks and who will undertake these tasks - along with establishing a regular inspection program - is the core of a successful
    SMF maintenance program.

  • Identify Costs and Allocate Resources
    While routine maintenance costs can typically be predicted for an annual budget, some
    SMF maintenance tasks will require infrequent but considerable expenses. Non-routine expenses need to be identified, and a long-term fund allocation plan needs to be developed. Involve the neighborhood or community served by the SMF. Pollutants treated by your SMF are generated from surrounding yards, streets, and businesses. Implementing a pollution prevention program and educating neighbors on the purpose of the SMF is a cost effective way to prolong its life and to protect water quality.


SMF Maintenance Tips

A consistent and effective maintenance program is the best way to ensure that a SMF will continue to perform its water quality and quantity management functions. In general, a maintenance program should contain the components listed below. Click on the link for more information.


We thank the following communities and organizations for the use of material and resources: