Managing Chester County's Stormwater: BMPs and Floodplain Protection eTools

Posted May 19, 2022


With an increasing amount of severe weather in recent years, it's important to understand the best ways to manage and prepare for these events. Intense summer storms in particular can cause an excess amount of flooding, and one of the most effective ways to mitigate this issue is through the use of Stormwater Best Management Practices, or BMPs.

BMPs are designed to manage the quantity and improve the quality of stormwater runoff on a site. Depending on the conditions and planning requirements, this often includes a combination of techniques which can, and should, be included in the site's overall design.

While traditional BMPs such as detention basins help to temporarily detain floodwaters, they only provide a minimal amount of water quality treatment and may cause further issues down the road. New design guidance recommends using advanced BMPs, such as green infrastructure, wherever possible to manage stormwater runoff, as these practices treat and reduce stormwater at its source while also providing additional economic and aesthetic benefits to a community (think rain gardens, porous pavement, urban tree canopies and green roofs).

Stormwater BMPs are applicable for every landscape in Chester County — from urbanized settings to rural and agricultural areas. Their effectiveness, however, depends upon regular inspections and maintenance and should be addressed at the municipal level.

To learn more about Stormwater BMPs including recommendations on how to get started and examples in Chester County, be sure to visit our Stormwater BMPs eTool. Additionally, the Floodplain Protection eTool provides various examples and resources on the county's floodplains and how to best manage them.

The Chester County Water Resources Authority provides public education brochures and reference materials pertaining to improving stormwater management, including the final approved County-wide Act 167 Plan, MS4 stormwater resources, and water quality improvement resources.

PhotoOn February 10, 2022, the Chester County Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution to amend the County-wide Act 167 Stormwater Management Plan to replace the 2013 model ordinance with the recently completed 2022 County-wide Act 167 Stormwater Management Model Ordinance. The updated Model Ordinance, summary of changes table, Matrix of Minimum Mandatory Standards, and other resources are available online. Similarly, floodplain protection is an important factor in the county's stormwater management as floodplains are necessary for a healthy ecosystem and their protection mitigates the effects of storm events. They provide the opportunity for water to spread out and slow down reducing erosion and flooding of other areas, support biological diversity, and recharge groundwater. Additionally, floodplains can offer opportunities for recreation, open space, and the creation of greenway corridors.

The most recent update of Chester County floodplain maps by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) became effective on September 29, 2017.

CCPC's planning eTools are intended to be user-friendly, providing a quick overview of each topic, an explanation of how it works, and considerations for addressing the topic within a community. Topic categories include agriculture; community health; economic development; environment; historic preservation; housing; land use; open space; transportation; utilities, infrastructure & energy. View the full list of eTools.