Commercial Landscaping Blog for The San Jose | Bay Area, CA

6 Harsh Realities of Storm Water Management

Posted by Sabrina Ayala on Dec 16, 2014 8:30:00 AM


Storm Water Management is No Joke

With recent storms pounding the bay area, it’s not uncommon to have flooding in parking lots in a commercial office property or a retail shopping center. If not managed, It can have a negative environmental impact on the property, causing soil erosion issues on their property and others creating a negative perception for visitors, neighbors and the general public.

When heavy torrential rain hammers the pavement on surfaces like parking lots, walkways, sidewalks and pathways, and building rooftops, it cannot percolate into the ground fast enough before running off site, primarily areas located below. Because water finds the easiest and least resistant path on these surfaces, bay area flooding is inevitable. Torrential rains can even cause erosion to migrate into adjacent creeks and properties pushing wildlife downstream.

With heavy water flow, it takes along with it whatever’s in its path, including chemical residue buildup like oil from cars, and moves it to into storm drains, fresh water streams that translocate into fresh water supplies, ponds and coastal waters. So pollution has to be controlled from entering groundwater supplies. And this is the reason why many bay area municipalities throughout the greater bay area require commercial development to have storm water mitigation plans.

Here is your solution! There are a few well known methods to mitigate the negative effects of storm water on a commercial properties: retention basins, bio swales and underground detention ponds. Here’s how they work.



Detention Ponds & Bio Swales

Detention Ponds and Bio Swales collect and transport storm water as it floods and releases it at a controlled rate to mitigate storm water erosion control.

A detention pond and Bio Swale are designed to allow the water to slowly infiltrate back into the ground water aquifer and allows the area to dry between stormy weather. Retention basins are designed to hold and retain a permanent body of water.

Both Bio Swales and detention ponds help mitigate storm water by slowing the runoff from hard surfaces, parking lots and roof tops. Retention basins can provide additional benefits including improved water quality and reduces sedimentation in the water.

Underground Detention Ponds

Today, managing storm water is becoming a popular topic amongst environmentalists and municipalities when it comes to managing water runoff in shopping centers or commercial property developments. As larger parcels are becoming less available for retail developments—more than a couple of acres, for example—expansive land is needed for parking lots and building developments, installing detention ponds under parking podiums is becoming a common trend in some new developments.

This type of holding capacity has similarities to a detention pond, but the water is stored underground since there isn’t sufficient space above ground. It’s important to ensure there’s proper drainage into an underground detention pond and that the pumps installed are able to handle the water flow and drainage.

Mitigating Storm Water Flow

The goal with any of these methods is to slow the movement of water. Public agencies throughout the bay area are expecting property owners to ensure the storm water is being managed in a way to protect ground water from pollution and to provide an even flow rate, meaning the water enters the property and exits and a steady slow rate.

Service is Premier for Commercial Landscape Management

Once a bio swale or, detention pond is developed, proper routine maintenance is key to ensure the system is functioning according with the engineers design.



Clearing Storm Drains and Catch Basins

With the current leaf debris dropping this winter, it’s imperative that maintenance personnel keep the landscaping storm drains, gutters and drainage culverts clear and free of debris like soil, twigs and leaf debris. Simply removing the debris from these entry points can make a significant impact on smooth water flow, making the difference between flooding or free water flowing.



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Commercial Industrial  Landscaping Company

FloraTerra  provides community landscaping services and commercial office landscaping in and around the bay area , providing a complete range of services, including sustainable landscape improvements, drought friendly landscaping for Shopping Centers, Retail Mall Landscaping, R & D Developments, Luxury Apartment Landscaping, Residential Estate Landscaping, HOA condominium Landscaping Company, Condominium Developments and Commercial Office Park Landscaping Company, Corporate Campus Landscaping. We provide services throughout the greater bay area.

ABOUT FloraTerra Landscape Management

FloraTerra of Silicon Valley and its affiliates, are based in San Jose, California.  As a leading contractor and Landscape Management Company of commercial and multi-residential properties, since its origin the company and its affiliates have installed and maintain some of the most prestigious properties in the bay area.  For more information about FloraTerra please visit

San Jose | Santa Clara | San Francisco Bay Area | Fremont | Sunnyvale | Milpitas | South Bay

Topics: Landscape Planning, Landscape Maintenance, Tree Care



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