What’s a stormwater BMP? ( or retention pond, constructed wetland, bio-retention system…)
I get this question all the time: “What is it that you do?” My answer has varied over the last several years:
Answer #1: “Ecological Solutions provides compliance services to BMPs.” This has been followed by the pause and the follow up question of “What is a BMP and why do you need BMP compliance?” Great conversation starter, but often a long winded answer.
Answer #2: We work on stormwater systems that are used to control and treat stormwater runoff. Leads to this question “What is stormwater runoff and why do we need to treat it?” Often the word “stormwater” is associated with pipes and utilities. Although these do apply to ponds and wetlands we service, the word stormwater doesn’t properly illustrate what we do.
Answer #3: “I have a small company that services retention ponds.” (Lately this has been my go to answer, as most people tend to know what retention ponds are people but often do not know that companies like us exist, specializing on retention pond services.)
Don’t get me wrong, I love talking about ponds and the work we provide to our clients. My point is that our industry is new (side note: most of the demand for our services has come as a result of new regulations that require that water quality in our waterways is improved). Compare this to other industries such as electricians, plumbers, roofers and the likes. Most people do not need a plumber to expand on what constitutes being a plumber. Retention pond professionals have to explain our profession, and mention things: You need an aquatic applicator’s licenses to spray cattails in ponds. (for the record, do not spray Round-up in your pond, not only is it illegal, it kills fish!)
I do not need to be convinced that you don’t call an electrician to fix a broken water line. I know this, you know this. In the pond world, companies like us are obscure and potential clients do not even know there is an industry specialized in maintaining and repairing ponds. This can be costly for the potential client, as there are many stories and improperly constructed or repaired ponds. Take this example: When utility companies lay stormwater pipes or sewage lines, they often lay them on a bed of gravel. However, if you were to lay a pipe through a dam in a bed of gravel, the water finds the gravel, and the pond leaks. We know this because of the numerous repairs we have made because of ponds that were constructed in this manner. Our industry can use better exposure, as this would save property owners costly issues down the line.
At the end of the day, we are a group of people who love being outside and getting muddy, and enjoy helping to clean water. We get satisfaction knowing that our work contributes to improvements in clean water in streams, rivers, lakes and ultimately the ocean. We wear many hats, sometimes of landscapers, sometimes naturalist, sometimes heavy equipment operators or concrete guys. But companies like ourselves, can use our specialized pond knowledge to help clients save money, and have more attractive ponds on their properties. Maybe one day, I will be able to say: “Ecological Solutions provides retention pond services, and be confident that most everyone knows what exactly it is we do.” (And by the way, if you still don’t know, look over the website, and call me if you’d like to talk ponds! 919.851.0033)