Editor's Comments: Stormwater, in All its Forms

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Sometimes it’s tricky to explain what I do to family and friends. They understand the “editor” part, more or less, but the “stormwater” part can be challenging. I usually explain that the stormwater industry deals with water that comes from precipitation. Sometimes I get to elaborate, and sometimes that’s all they want to hear.

I do relish the opportunity to exclaim, “That’s stormwater!” when my aunt mentions a new “rain tax” or a friend tells me their town is experiencing flooding. When a politician commented recently on 100-year floods, I said aloud to my partner, “That’s us!”—Stormwater magazine specifically, and the industry more widely. Stormwater quality and maintenance encompass so many things, all of which contribute to the health and safety of us, our communities, and our environment.

This issue, we are bringing you stories on a number of different stormwater topics. First, we have the second part of a two-part series on pumps. In "Pump it Out,” we look at the pumps that prevent sewer backups and combined sewer overflows. From addressing backups in individual homes to major rain events in Columbus, OH, pumps of all sizes keep wastewater from ending up in basements, streets, and rivers.

In “Stormwater Modeling Software,” we outline several ways you can put data to use. GIS can be used to inventory and track stormwater assets and, once you know what you have, make inspections more efficient. Modeling software can be used to create visualizations, graphics, and models of complex problems and their potential solutions, which can save time and money.

In “Protecting the Source,” we discuss projects aimed at reducing the amount of sediment, debris, and pollutants that make their way into the stormwater system. Whether the goal is to reduce algae overgrowths and phosphorus loads or control sediment on a construction site, cost-effective and efficient filtration is critical.

Ensuring the quality of stormwater, reducing the amount of pollutants and sediment that end up in our streams and rivers, and protecting communities from flooding is not a simple job. It’s complex and requires that we use many tools—hardware like pipes, pumps, and pavers; GIS and modeling software; and green infrastructure like bioswales, wetlands, and urban forests.

If you’ll allow me a cliché, when it rains, it pours, but today’s stormwater professionals have the tools and the dedication to face the challenge.

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