Water Drainage 101 for Real Estate Developers

When you’re a real estate developer, there are many facets of the project to consider — including water drainage. 

From single-family homes to multi-story office buildings, no structure is ever sustainably built or safe to occupy until water drainage has been thoroughly considered. If you haven’t thought about water drainage before, here are the basics. 

Water Drainage Basics for Developers

Drainage issues can be a real nightmare for builders across the United States.

It can be affected by several factors: previous land manipulation, tree growth, soil compaction, etc. The most important considerations of drainage are stormwater and wastewater.

What You Need to Know: Stormwater

Stormwater is, in a nutshell, water that collects after a precipitation event like rain or snow. Stormwater management is particularly critical for building sites in at-risk areas such as floodplains, heavy-freeze zones, and those near streams, creeks, and rivers. 

By having adequate drainage for your property, you can ensure that your roof doesn’t collapse or the structure of your building isn’t compromised. 

What You Need to Know: Wastewater

Wastewater is water discarded after use in a home, business, or industrial capacity. It can include anything from sewage to organic waste and must be handled with great care to prevent contamination of the soil, flora, and fauna of an area.

By knowing how to adequately handle wastewater and having a wastewater plan in place, you can make sure that your property isn’t posing a negative environmental threat to the area. 

Why Does Water Drainage Matter to Developers?

Water drainage matters because improper drainage can have dire consequences. 

Buildings can flood, land can erode, and people can be injured when water doesn’t drain properly. Standing water can cause buildings to lose their structural integrity and age faster than their years. Moving water or still water on a plot of land can wreak havoc on entire ecosystems over time. To say that drainage is paramount to nearly all other development considerations would not be an overstatement. 

So, where do you start when fixing drainage issues with your property? Here is what the process looks like:

  • Evaluation: The starting point of all drainage evaluations is groundwater. 

Groundwater exists in some amount within every parcel of land. Assessing, testing, and remediating contaminated groundwater in the ground is a foundational step of site preparation for developers. Building on top of contaminated groundwater is neither legal nor advisable in most cases.

Will the movement of groundwater compact the soil further over time? Do stormwater drainage patterns make it impossible to lay the foundation of a building? If so, steps must be put in place to engineer a solution that is both viable and regulation-compliant. State and federal government agencies take groundwater science very seriously due to its wide-ranging impact on agriculture, animals, and plant life.

Groundwater and drainage are two of the most complex issues to navigate during the development process. It’s our goal to be a turnkey solution for all regulatory, remediation, and engineering requirements.

Don’t Let Your Drainage Issues Get You Down

Which drainage issues have been plaguing your build? 

No matter the size of your project, our teams are available to meet with you and discuss your specific drainage issues. We're ready to put our knowledge to work for you so that you can make the most out of your developments. Whether you're working on an office complex or a new apartment building or a single-family home, we can make sure that your project is set up for success. 

Aside from that, we will work closely with local and state governments to ensure proper planning, establishment, and implementation. Reach out today if you want a drainage partner with your best interests in mind!


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