Managing Stormwater

Stormwater Ponds 

Stormwater ponds are extremely important components of your community's drainage system. They are designed to provide two critical services:
  1. Prevent flooding by suppressing surges of stormwater runoff that wash from lawns, buildings, and paved surfaces
  2. Protect water quality by holding water long so that sediment and attached and other pollutants settle to the bottom of the pond before discharge to nearby rivers or beaches.
As land is developed, vegetative cover is replaced by impervious surfaces such as buildings, roads, parking lots, and driveways.  Instead of soaking into the ground, rainwater (i.e., stormwater) runs off the impervious surfaces, sometimes resulting in flooding. Additionally, as runoff washes across lawns, roads, and parking lots, it picks up sediment and pollutants such as pet waste, fertilizers, pesticides, and oils and deposits them into our waterways. This type of pollution is referred to as "nonpoint source" (NPS) pollution. Nonpoint source pollution is the largest source of pollution in the May River. Check out our other pages to find simple things you can do to eliminate some of these pollution sources.

Stormwater ponds are not designed to be recreational ponds for fishing or boating, and they are not permitted solely for beautification of the landscape. As we stated before, they are engineered devices, intended to moderate flood surges and reduce stormwater pollution. As with other engineered devices, stormwater ponds require maintenance to prevent them from falling into disrepair. Stormwater ponds that are well maintained may provide additional benefits beyond simply managing stormwater, such as fishing, boating, and improved property values.


Stormwater Pond Maintenance & Problem Solving:

Homeowners associations (HOA), property management companies, community managers, and waterfront residents can find out more information about stormwater pond maintenance by visiting Clemson Extension's Managing Stormwater Ponds webpage. Additionally, SCDHEC has published a Citizen's Guide to Stormwater Pond Maintenance booklet, detailing best management practices and resolving many common stormwater pond issues.

Vegetated Riparian Buffers:

Shoreline or riparian buffers are corridors of native vegetation along rivers, streams, and tidal wetlands that protect waterways by providing a transition zone between upland developments and adjoining surface waters. Vegetated buffers are beneficial environmentally, aesthetically, and economically. Learn more about backyard buffers and living shorelines check out these great documents.

  1. Backyard Buffers for the South Carolina Lowcountry
  2. How Green or Gray Should Your Shoreline Solution Be?
  3. Living Shorelines

What is a Rain Garden?
A rain garden is a landscaped depression which takes full advantage of rainfall and stormwater runoff in its design and plant selection. Rain gardens allow runoff to slowly infiltrate to the groundwater table, removing some of the pollutants that would otherwise end up in our waterways. Rain gardens have become popular and attractive methods for property owners to decrease the impact of their impervious surfaces. Rain gardens, like any garden, also support habitat for bees, birds and butterflies. 

                                          A perfect example would be the Town of Bluffton's rain garden located at Dubois Park

Learn More about Rain Gardens:
Dubois Park, located at 48 Boundary Street, is home to a rain garden. Learn more by watching this short video that was created as a partnership between Beaufort County Government, Beaufort County Stormwater Utility and Neighbors for Clean Water. 

How do I build a Rain Garden?
There are several resources available online to assist you with building a rain garden. Clemson Extension's Carolina Clear created the Rain Garden Manual for South Carolina. This manual will guide you through the proper location for your garden, choosing the right native plants, and your overall garden design.  


Why is Stormwater Runoff Important?

All of the features listed above are important features to handle stormwater runoff. It's important to understand why stormwater runoff is a concern to begin with. We encourage you to read the following brochure highlighting some key features on how to handle stormwater runoff as well as defining why we need to be concerned about it.