Stormwater runoff can also cause erosion and flooding if it is not properly managed. Therefore, stormwater management systems should be correctly designed and continuously maintained and/or repaired. Because South Florida is low and flat, we rely on a regional flood control system consisting of a series of major canals operated by the South Florida Water Management District. Smaller secondary canals connect to the South Florida Water Management District canals. Finally, neighborhood swales, ditches and pipes connect to the secondary canals. Heavy rain from a single rainfall event, a tropical storm, or a hurricane can overwhelm the system. In order for drainage systems to function properly, regular repair and maintenance is required. Therefore, grates, inlets and culverts should be free of trash and debris. Swales must be mowed on a regular basis and may need to be re-graded or replanted from time to time. Homeowner’s associations and commercial property owners are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of their own facilities. Finally, over time and particularly if not properly maintained, stormwater management systems may no longer function properly or provide adequate drainage. While we may not have control over the weather, we can all do our part to make sure that our local drainage systems are properly designed, permitted, constructed, and maintained.
Stormwater is also a resource and is growing in importance as the world's human population demand exceeds the availability of readily available water. Appropriate management of this important resource requires knowledge and experience. Our team of experienced engineers and scientists at Westhorp & Associates offers stormwater management services including stormwater master planning, management of watershed quantity and quality studies, and design of drainage improvements. We are guided by a design philosophy that combines engineering expertise with environmental considerations using water management strategies that are developed to balance the project needs with environmental protection. Our goal is to provide our clients with efficient and cost-effective solutions that focus on key issues and meet or exceed performance and regulatory criteria.
Westhorp & Associates provides support to municipalities for stormwater utility management. These stormwater utilities have been established to maintain and improve the drainage capabilities and water quality of the municipalities. Stormwater Utilities are supported by fees that are based on the impact that these properties have on the overall generation of stormwater runoff. A Stormwater Utility uses an engineering approach to determine its fee structure. Instead of tacking the fee to everyone’s property tax, the Utility determines the size of a given property that is “impervious” to rainwater and calculates the fee based on that figure. That way, the Stormwater Utility is charging a fee based on the runoff generated from those impervious surfaces (like rooftops and parking lots), since this runoff is what the Stormwater Utility is going to have to handle. Our engineers have helped municipalities in Miami-Dade County determine the correct stormwater utility fees that these properties should be charged. Our services include field determination of pervious and impervious areas, evaluation of private property stormwater management system status, fee calculation and database maintenance for accounting purposes.
Westhorp & Associates also prepares annual reports for submittal to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection as part of compliance procedures with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.
Additional stormwater management services provided by Westhorp & Associates include: