Think stormwater retention and detention are interchangeable terms? Think again … here’s a brief crash course in the differences between the two.
If ever two terms were created to confuse, it’s stormwater detention and stormwater retention. I mean, come on … someone was just playing a cruel joke on us.
It’s critical we push past any English language befuddlements, however, because these two terms are extremely important to creating a better, happier ecosystem – both here at home and across the world.
Stormwater, see, is an incredibly problematic fact of urban living. The extremely high percentage of paved-over surfaces in the city – think asphalt, cement and concrete – water doesn’t have anywhere to go once it descends from the sky.
Long story short: It pools in streets and sewers, it picks up pollutants and disease, it transmits them to wildlife and waterways. In short, stormwater sucks and we need to do something about it.
First, though, we need to know what we’re dealing with vis-à-vis solutions. So what exactly are stormwater detention and retention? Let’s clarify both terms, then take a quick look at how you can employ each.