The Urban Land Institute has recognized a residential community northwest of Houston for its water drainage system, which was credited for preventing flooding of its homes during Tax Day Storm of 2016
The National Urban Planning organization cited Stonebrook Estates, a 51-acre single-family home community in northwest Harris County, as an example of how ‘low-impact development” can be used to manage stormwater. In particular, the 135-home community was commended for its hybrid stormwater management system, which uses a natural drainage system as well as traditional storm sewers to keep stormwater at bay.
Terra Visions LLC was one of the first developers to implement low-impact development principles to prevent flooding to homes. The Houston-based developer could have built a six-to-seven acre detention pond within Stonebrook Estates, but instead used a landscaped drainage corridor with park trails as well as other “bioswales,” or green spaces, to retain water, according to ULI.
The first inch of stormwater runoff is absorbed through engineered soil filters to prevent surface ponding. Excess stormwater flows through these green spaces into lake-like detention basins, where it is slowly released into storm channels and bayous. Streets within the community are sloped to drain stormwater into green spaces instead of storm sewer pipes.
Stonebrook Estates’ natural drainage system was tested during the Tax Day storm of 2016 when the community received about a foot of rain within a 24-hour period. The storm dumped rain water the equivalent of a 100-year flood, according to ULI.
“(The stormwater management system) functioned better than anticipated given the rain storm intensity,”Michael Bloom, a site engineer with R.G. Miller Engineers, said in the ULI report.”… the stormwater stayed in the system and didn’t flow into the streets or yards.”
The natural drainage system, which serves about 70 percent of Stonebrook Estates, reduced the requirement for detention ponds by about a quarter, increasing the number of home lots can could be developed. Terra Visions has finished about 70 homes, or about half of the homes in the community.
Stonebrook Estates’ water management system was designed by Aguirre & Fields LP and R.G. Miller Engineers, Inc., both based in Houston.
Houston Business Journal