Best Management Practices (BMPs)

Best Management Practices (BMPs) are devices used to reduce pollution in stormwater runoff, thereby protecting area waterways. These practices are often permanent facilities designed to handle stormwater runoff in a specific area. As a property owner or homeowner association, you may be responsible for maintenance of a BMP.

BMPs reduce the flow that allows for filtration of pollutants before the stormwater enters our streams, rivers, lakes and bays. To ensure that BMPs perform properly, they must be maintained.

Types of BMPs include:

  • Infiltration Trenches/Basins are stone-filled excavations that temporarily store stormwater runoff and allow it to soak into the soil beneath it.
  • Detention Basins or Dry Ponds are man-made basins that detain water for specific periods of time after a storm. Detention basins do not contain a permanent pool of water and are normally dry. Water is impounded temporarily to allow much of the sediment carried by the runoff to settle to the bottom.
  • Retention Ponds have a permanent pool of water. Retention ponds are more effective at improving water quality because they allow more time for sediment settling and removal.
  • Grassed Swales are gently sloped areas of vegetation that slow the flow of runoff, channeling it to other BMPs. Grassed swales are typically found in residential developments as an alternative to curb and gutter.
  • Filter Strips and Buffers are areas of vegetation that remove sediment in runoff as the water flows through it. Filter strips are similar to grass swales, only wider. Buffer areas can contain a variety of vegetation, including trees and shrubs.

Non-residential property owners who use BMPs can apply for a credit in stormwater fees (PDF). For information on BMP maintenance or to receive a Guide to Maintaining and Operating BMPs (PDF), call 757-382-CITY (2489), or download a copy.