Stormwater Management Program Highlights
The Flood Control District and its Joint Task Force (JTF) partners have each developed individual SWMPs to satisfy the shared MS4 permit requirements. The Flood Control District’s SWMP satisfies their permit responsibilities with a focus on the following stormwater management activities, including: maintenance of stormwater infrastructure, design of water quality enhancements, development and implementation of a bacteria reduction plan for area waterways, collection and categorization of floatable debris, and evaluating the effectiveness of stormwater BMP through monitoring. The Flood Control District is committed to improving all aspects of stormwater quality within Harris County through continued implementation and monitoring of these stormwater management activities.
Map of Harris County showing locations of the Flood Control District’s detention basins containing 1)Stormwater Treatment Wetlands, 2) Future Stormwater Treatment Wetlands, 3) Water Quality Monitoring Stations, 4) Continuous Ambient Monitoring, and 5) combinations of these installments.
BMP Effectiveness Evaluation
A requirement within the Flood Control District’s SWMP is to evaluate the effectiveness of water quality enhancements within flood control projects. Water quality enhancement features, such as stormwater treatment wetlands, have been constructed within many detention basin sites across Harris County. Some of these sites are actively monitored by the Flood Control District to evaluate the effectiveness of these enhancements as a stormwater treatment BMP.
Numerous sources contribute pollutants to our local waterways. These pollutants can be as varied as oil and grease, solvents, sediment, bacteria, nutrients, and heavy metals. Monitoring stations are located at the inflow and outflow of a detention basin to measure the pollutant levels as water enters and leaves the system. Water quality monitoring data derived from these detention basin sites is hosted by the Flood Control District on the Southeast Texas Stormwater Quality Regional BMP Database.
A stormwater quality monitoring station installed at Willow Springs Detention Basin, and a close up of the interpretive signage from each station.
Floatables Collection Program
Addressing Illicit Discharge and Improper Disposal is a major section within the Flood Control District’s SWMP and includes the collection and categorization of litter, floatables, and debris. MS4 permit language allows the Flood Control District flexibility in developing programs and partnerships to address floatables in local waterways. An important partner to the Flood Control District is the Buffalo Bayou Partnership (BBP). The BBP uses a combination of strategically located floatables collection booms, vacuum boats, and land-based crews to collect litter, floatables, and debris from lower Buffalo Bayou, lower Brays Bayou, a portion of the Port of Houston, and other special pilot project sites identified by the District. Additionally, the Flood Control District’s Facilities Maintenance Department performs routine collection of floatables and debris on District detention basins and channels where floatables regularly collect. All of these efforts result in less floatables debris and trash in our waterways.
Vacuum Boat on Buffalo Bayou, operated byBuffalo Bayou Partnership on behalf of the Flood Control District
Arthur Storey Park Detention Basin in the Brays Bayou watershed is one of the special pilot floatables collection project sites. Due to the configuration of the detention basin and its location in the watershed, large quantities of floatables trash and debris can become trapped in localized areas within the basin. Since 2013, the BBP has been collecting and categorizing floatables using booms and land-based crews on a weekly basis. This project will allow the Flood Control District and other partners to determine litter generation rates within the watershed.
Debris at Arthur Storey Park Detention Basin before cleanup and installation of floatables boom
Arthur Storey Park Detention Basin after floatables boom installation
Annual Reports by the BBP on their floatables debris and trash collection are provided below.