News | September 16, 2013

Stormwater Management Treatment Devices To Be Evaluated In New Program

The Water Environment Federation's (WEF) Stormwater Testing and Evaluation for Products and Practices (STEPP) steering committee has been joined by the Stormwater Equipment Manufacturers Association (SWEMA) to investigate an establishment of a national program for evaluating manufactured stormwater treatment devices. 

Triggered in part by the discontinuation of the only national evaluation program for these technologies -- the EPA's Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) program, the STEPP initiative was formed at a WEFTEC 2012 meeting by participants who agreed that a program to test and evaluate stormwater practices is highly necessary and that "there is enough interest in the sector to investigate the feasibility and nature of a national program," according to WEF.

"SWEMA members are serving on WEF's STEPP task force because it is imperative that there be a national testing program to validate products used for stormwater management treatment systems," stated Laurie L. Honnigford, managing director of SWEMA. "This centralized clearing house will be more efficient for engineers and public employees than having many regional or state groups struggling to maintain a patchwork of local programs that often lack technical and scientific rigor. SWEMA seeks to ensure that stormwater best management practice (BMP) testing methodologies are uniform and consistent. This way, all stakeholders who rely on these programs can be assured that products or alternative practices which have undergone these tests have been properly evaluated and performance verified."

STEPP is meeting periodically to investigate the feasibility and to formulate a plan for the make up a national program. "SWEMA agrees with the WEF consensus that there is a need for a national, standardized testing and verification program for both proprietary stormwater devices and public domain BMPs," Honnigford continued. "We, as an industry, are looking forward to the task force's white paper exploring the need for a national program that will be presented during WEFTEC 2013 in October."

Heading up SWEMA's efforts on the WEF STEPP task force are Ryan Janoch of Terraphase Engineering, Inc. (Oakland, CA.) and Chris French of Filterra Bioretention Systems (Ashland, VA.) 

SWEMA has contributed to several state level stormwater evaluation programs. The organization has also helped to revitalize the protocols and certification program of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and the New Jersey Corporation for Advanced Technology (NJCAT), which have recently been referenced by the Washington, D.C. District Department of Environment (DDOE) in their proposed new Stormwater Management Guidebook. Additionally, SWEMA has contributed to the ongoing development of the Virginia Technology Acceptance Protocol (VTAP).

"There are certainly many challenges in stormwater management," Honnigford said, "but being unsure of the performance and longevity of a product or stormwater treatment practice should not be one of them. That is why we would like see a strong national program and performance data base that can be easily access by all stormwater stakeholders."  

Formed in 2008, SWEMA is comprised of industry experts who volunteer their time to develop educational programs, standards, guidelines and best management practices for stormwater treatment and management.

SOURCE: Water Environment Federation's (WEF)

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