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Best Management Practices (BMP)

Best Management Practices (BMPs) are broadly defined by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control as stormwater management and conservation practices that have been demonstrated to effectively control movement of pollutants, prevent degradation of soil and water resources, and that are compatible with the land use. Simply put, BMPs help us manage and lessen the adverse impacts typically associated with stormwater runoff. BMPs can be divided into two categories: structural and non-structural.

Structural BMPs can be thought of as engineering solutions to stormwater management. Structural BMPs are used to treat stormwater at the point of generation, the point of discharge, or at any point along the stormwater "treatment train." Structural BMPs can serve many different functions based on their design. Some structural BMPs are designed particularly for urban areas, whereas others may be designed for agriculture, forestry, or mining areas. Common examples of structural BMPs usually found within urban areas include stormwater ponds and open channels (swales).

Non-structural BMPs are just that; non-structural. There are no physical structures associated with these types of BMPs. Non-structural BMPs are designed to limit the amount of pollutants available in the environment that would potentially end up in stormwater runoff. Non-structural BMPs typically lessen the need for the more costly structural BMPs. Non-structural BMPs can be achieved through such things as education, management and development practices. Some examples include ordinances and practices associated with land use and comprehensive site planning.

   • The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Publications
   • National NEMO Network
   • Connecticut NEMO Program
   • The Stormwater Manager’s Resource Center
   • National Stormwater Best Management Practices (BMP) Database
   • US EPA Urban Stormwater Best Management Practices BMPs Study
   • US EPA National Menu of Best Management Practices for Storm Water Phase II
   • A Watershed Approach to Urban Runoff: Handbook for Decisionmakers. Terrene Institute (in cooperation with U.S. EPA Region 5) (March 1996).* An informative primer for local decision makers and watershed organizations on assessing the water quality of watersheds, identifying contributing sources, and prioritizing watershed resources to implement effective nonstructural and structural BMPs. BMPs are summarized, and a list of resources to obtain additional information is provided. Call (703) 548-5473 or e-mail
   • S.C. DHEC Environmental Quality Control and Ocean and Coastal Resource Management
   • South Carolina’s Forestry BMP Program
   • Center for Watershed Protection
   • Urban Stormwater Management : NC State University Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering Extension Specialist William Hunt
   • N.C. DENR. 1995. Stormwater Best Management Practices Manual. Raleigh: North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources—Division of Water Quality. 85pp.


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