Form and Function in Storm-water BMP’s

Bobbie Kelsten’s adorable yellow bungalow sits in a neighborhood that was built during a drought.  At the time, no one knew that the neighborhood storm drain that lies directly behind Bobbie’s house was insufficient to handle a normal Asheville rain.   When the rains did start in 2009 she soon realized that she had no option but to seek a solution to the flooding that not only inundated her yard, causing serious erosion, but came in to her house as well.  She contacted Equinox Environmental and that summer Fred Grogan, Dena Chandler, and David Tuch analyzed her situation and designed a functional and beautiful storm water solution for her that relied on best management practices (storm water BMP’s).

Before Equinox


For those of you who, like me, are not landscape design professionals, let me tell you in layman’s terms how a storm water BMP differs from more standard storm-water treatments.  As I understand, it instead of collecting storm-water in pipes and sending it directly into our streams and rivers,  a more sustainable solution works to slow the water down so that it will cause less erosion to the site, will allow it to slowly filter into the ground, and can even improve the quality of the water.  And as Bobbie will attest to, the solution we gave her was a lovely “tiny garden paradise in the heart of Oakley.”

Spring Rain 2011
Spring Rain

Fast forward to 2013 and the summer of rain where the rainfall for the season has been double our average, and where single rain events have been up to 4 times greater than the summer of 2009 when Bobbie called us.  What a test for a storm-water system.  Bobbie sent us a lovely note in early August letting us know “that my home remains dry despite the monsoons of 2013. The drainage system (more poetically known as my “water feature”) that you designed and constructed is working beautifully.”

Spring Rain 3
Storm-water in action

This is one of the great things about working at Equinox, and why I choose to work here.  I was so pleased to have the opportunity to meet with Bobbie and take a few pictures of her ‘water feature’.  I am proud of the expertise that my coworker’s demonstrate.   And I am proud to share it with you.

Fall 2013
Late Summer – after the 2013 rainy season

Joyce Brown,

Operations Manager

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