When it comes to responsible stormwater management, proper inspection and maintenance play a pivotal role in safeguarding our environment and communities from potential hazards. Stormwater facilities, whether found on commercial, industrial, residential, or shared properties, require regular inspections to ensure they are operating effectively and in compliance with state and local standards. This blog dives into the specific requirements governing stormwater management facilities in Arlington County, VA, including inspection frequencies, maintenance requirements, and consequences for failing to meet these crucial responsibilities.
Understanding Inspection Frequencies
In Arlington County, the inspection frequency of stormwater management facilities varies depending on the type of property. Here’s a breakdown of the inspection schedules for different property categories:
- Commercial Stormwater Facilities: If you own or manage a commercial property, it’s vital to note that annual inspections are mandatory for each stormwater management facility or best management practice (BMP) located on the property. Each facility must be thoroughly examined on a yearly basis to identify any potential issues and ensure they are functioning as designed.
- Private Single-Family Residential Stormwater Facilities: For owners of single-family residential properties, stormwater facility inspections occur on a biennial basis or every other year. While the inspections themselves take place every two years, maintenance is still required, as needed, to uphold the system’s efficiency and integrity and keep it functioning as designed.
- HOA Stormwater Facilities: Stormwater facilities situated in a shared or public space within a community governed by a Homeowners Association are treated similarly to commercial properties. These facilities are frequently found beneath parking lots, playgrounds, or shared community spaces within an HOA. It is necessary to conduct annual inspections of these facilities to comply with county requirements.
Arlington County’s Stormwater Inspection Deadline
It’s important to adhere to the county’s inspection deadline to ensure that your stormwater facilities remain in compliance. The deadline for inspections is consistent across all property types and falls on November 30th of each year. However, it’s important to remember that single-family residential properties are only required to complete an inspection by November 30th on a biennial basis.
Completing a Stormwater Facility Inspection in Arlington County, VA
County guidelines dictate who can inspect and maintain stormwater facilities. In many cases, a trained and licensed professional is required to ensure facilities function as designed and improve water quality. While guidelines vary by facility type, the following guidelines apply to most facilities located on commercial, single-family residential, and HOA or Community Association properties.
- Commercial Properties: Inspections and maintenance for most stormwater facility types located on commercial property may only be conducted by DEQ-certified stormwater management inspectors. These skilled professionals, such as those at DFM, possess the expertise required to ensure these intricate, in some cases proprietary systems, are functioning as designed. The proprietary facility types rely on either hydrodynamic separation or filtration and include BaySaver, StormFilter, Isolator rows by Advanced Drainage Systems, CDS, Filterra, Jellyfish, and many more.
- Private Single-Family Residential Properties: While Arlington County allows residential stormwater facility owners to inspect and complete checklists for select facility types, the complexity of these systems often necessitates the involvement of licensed and DEQ-certified stormwater management inspectors. Collaborating with professionals like those at DFM is a prudent choice to enhance the system’s effectiveness and longevity.
- HOA & Commercial Associations: Due to the size, location, and complexity of facilities often found within the boundaries of an HOA or Community Association, certified stormwater inspectors or maintenance providers must handle most inspections and maintenance.
Assessing the Condition of a Stormwater Facility
Assessing the condition of a stormwater facility or BMP will vary based on the type of facility in question. During inspections, an inspector will assess various aspects to evaluate the condition and functionality of a system, including:
- Inflows, Outlets & Outfalls: Inflow and outlet structures prone to blockages, damage, and malfunctions that can affect flow or result in system failure are often in need of maintenance. An inspector will examine inflow channels, weirs, pipes, rip-rap outflows, and valves to ensure they operate properly.
- Sediment Buildup: Sediment accumulation is common in stormwater systems. An inspector will check levels, especially in basins or forebays, to assess its impact on retention and potential removal.
- Debris & Organic Matter: Inspectors will assess facility cleanliness and upkeep. Organic debris, obstructions hampering water flow, and signs of past maintenance like mowing, vegetation trimming, or sediment removal will be examined.
- Invasive Species: Inspectors will look for signs of invasive vegetation or the overgrowth of plants, which can hinder the system’s performance and ability to safeguard water quality.
- Health of Vegetation: In certain stormwater systems, vegetation plays a crucial role in removing pollutants and capturing stormwater runoff. The presence, health, and adequacy of vegetation in vegetated swales, bioretention areas, and other green infrastructure elements are essential to maintaining water quantity and quality levels. Inspectors will pay close attention to plant conditions.
- Structural Condition: The inspector will examine for erosion indicators, cracks, settling, or damage that could impact the facility’s ability to capture or treat stormwater.
Consequences of Non-Compliance
Complying with Arlington County’s stormwater requirements is crucial for commercial, industrial, and residential property owners. Falling short in this responsibility triggers several actions by the county:
- The county will issue a written Non-Compliance notice explaining the shortfall and outlining the path to rectify it within 30 days.
- If the inspection remains outstanding after the allotted 30 days, the county or its authorized representative reserves the right to step in to complete the assessment.
- Any costs incurred during this inspection process will be the responsibility of the property owner
Failed Stormwater Facility Inspection
If a stormwater facility fails inspection, prompt action is required. Once identified, the county will inform you of the situation via a Non-Compliance notice outlining the necessary maintenance steps needed to restore the facility’s functionality. Property owners receiving this notice are given 30 days to complete the required maintenance tasks. Property owners must also document maintenance efforts with photos and submit the necessary paperwork to show completion. Failure to comply could lead to the county or an authorized agent stepping in to complete the required maintenance tasks. As a part of this process, property owners can expect an invoice for the repair and administrative costs incurred by the county.
DFM Development Services, LLC – Certified Stormwater Management Facility Inspectors
Meeting the demands of annual stormwater inspection obligations in Arlington County, VA, presents certain difficulties, which is why DFM is here to help guide you in the right direction.
With our certified stormwater management inspectors and licensed professional engineers, you can expect a meticulous inspection that aligns seamlessly with Arlington County’s guidelines. We possess an intricate understanding of the specific prerequisites for each stormwater facility, ensuring that your system consistently meets all the standards to remain in compliance.
Filterra image courtesy of Arlington County. Original image. View image on Flicker.