Best Management Practices (BMPs) are non-structural and structural stormwater practices that manage stormwater generated by impervious surfaces and/or remove pollution from stormwater before it drains into local streams and lakes. Another name for structural BMPs is Stormwater Control Measures (SCMs) or green infrastructure. No matter the name, they all store, absorb and/or filter stormwater to reduce flood risks and improve water quality. Examples of common structural BMPs are dry detention ponds, grass swales, bioretention or rain gardens, sand filters, stormwater wetlands, and wet ponds.
Since the late 1970s, thousands of privately owned structural BMPs have been built throughout the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Long term maintenance of these structures to their original design and function is required and critical for managing stormwater generated by land development.
Long term maintenance of all structural BMPs to original design is REQUIRED.
Regulatory staff will send property owners inspection reports and maintenance notices if maintenance or repairs are needed. Failure to maintain a structural BMP can result in fines. Enforcement is used to ensure structural BMPs are maintained. Regulatory staff work with property owners to gain compliance and are available to assist property owners with ordinance requirements. BMPs fail due to lack of maintenance, they may be very costly to repair. Routine maintenance helps property owners avoid those potentially high costs.
Some property owners do not know they must maintain their structural BMP or even the best way to do it. The City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County and the six towns have recently put forth a concerted effort to inventory these BMPs and contact landowners to make them aware of their location, function, and maintenance responsibilities. Please Report A Concern if you see a structural BMP that is not being maintained well.
Inspections are one of the most important parts of long-term maintenance. Staff recommends* that property owners include regular inspections of structural BMPs in their contracts with landscape companies. This way a contractor can alert property owners of maintenance needs before they turn into big, costly problems. This list of BMP contractors and inspectors(XLSX, 30KB) may help property owners choose an experienced and knowledgeable contractor. They are not endorsed by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services.
Beginning in 2005, local municipalities began adopting Post Construction Stormwater Ordinances (PCSOs). These ordinances included more rigorous structural BMP design and maintenance requirements than previous land development regulations.
*For BMPs, built after a local PCSO was adopted, an annual inspection report is required.
The annual BMP inspection must be conducted and documented by a licensed professional engineer, a registered landscape architect or a qualified professional depending on the jurisdiction where the property is located. The report must be recorded on the appropriate BMP Inspection Report Form and submitted to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services.
For more information about the inspection and maintenance requirements, please see Stormwater Regulations.
For maintenance tips of the most common structural BMPs, see the following brochures.
For more comprehensive information about structural stormwater BMPs, their maintenance needs and common problems, see the following manuals.
All structural BMPs, or SCMs, included in the Maintenance Manual have been monitored and evaluated to determine their ability to remove stormwater pollution under local conditions. See Pilot Stormwater Control Measures for monitoring reports.
Mecklenburg County Environmental Supervisor
Jordan Miller, PE
Surface Water Quality and Environmental Permitting Manager
Charlotte Storm Water Services