Best Management Practices (BMPs) prevent or reduce the stormwater pollution and protect the water quality of receiving water bodies. They are designed to reduce stormwater volume, peak flows and non-point source pollution through infiltration and detention. Stormwater BMPs are classified into two categories, Structural and Non-structural BMPs

Structural BMPs involve design and construction. Examples Include:

  • Detention ponds
  • Porous pavements
  • Oil and grease separators
  • Bio-retention ponds
  • Bio swales
  • Manufactured treatment devices.

Non-Structural BMPs involve activities that can be implemented to avoid or minimize the contamination of stormwater. Examples Include:

  • Public education
  • Ordinances
  • Good housekeeping
  • Re-vegetation
  • Protecting natural drainage features of the site.

When choosing a BMP, advantages and disadvantages must be considered by weighing against the site constraints, management of BMPs and costs involved. The critical stormwater pollution prevention requirement is to maintain the BMP and ensure proper operation through regular inspections and repair if needed. Evaluation of the BMP is another critical component of maintenance to ensure the effectiveness of the BMP and determine if the proper BMP has been used.

Based on the stormwater Phase II MS4 minimum control measures, EPA released National Menu of BMPs in October 2000 which represents the practices helpful to achieve the six minimum control measures which are Public Education and Outreach, Public Participation/Involvement, Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination, Construction Site Runoff Control, Post-construction Runoff Control, Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping.

EPA also developed fact sheets describing the BMPs and providing applicability, implementation and other effective information to help municipal stormwater and construction site operators comply with Phase II stormwater requirements.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or need any assistance regarding the Stormwater Program.

Shri Vani Sripada is a Project Engineer at Smith Management Group. Shri Vani can be reached at