How Often Does your Property Need Stormwater System Maintenance?

Property Managers and Building Engineers often ask us how many times per year their property’s stormwater BMPs need to be serviced. The answer? It depends. There are a variety of factors that influence the frequency of maintenance needed at your property.


All stormwater BMPs need to be inspected at least once per year. This is the bare minimum. Beyond that, it really depends on the type of BMPs at your property. BMPs work to filter stormwater runoff as it exits the property through the stormwater system, and each type does it a little differently.

Stormwater filtration insert
Inside a storm drain

 Filtration inserts installed on grate inlets and curb inlets capture trash and debris as it enters the storm drain. They typically need two to four maintenance services per year.

Filtration Vault
Filtration Vault

Filtration vaults are large underground systems that capture pollution as it flows from the storm drains, and these typically need service one to two times per year.

There are a variety of BMP types and each ones requires a different frequency of service to keep it functioning properly.


Site conditions play a large role in how often a property’s stormwater BMPs need service. Remember that maintenance is removing the buildup of pollutants like trash, litter, debris and sediment from these devices. The amount of pollutants impacts how often service is needed.

For example, heavily trafficked properties like shopping malls and retail centers generate a lot of litter and therefore require more frequent service. Properties with lots of trees and vegetation typically require more service as well. Vacant properties that don’t have a lot of sediment, debris or litter can get by with fewer services.


Each City sends out Annual Maintenance Verification forms every year asking you to verify that service is taking place at your property. The general rule of thumb is that the property should be maintained enough times throughout the year so that the stormwater filtration system is functioning properly, meaning it is filtering runoff.

Your stormwater vendor should provide you with recommendations for the ideal maintenance frequency to keep your property’s system functioning properly and compliant with the city. We are always happy to provide a complimentary Stormwater System Assessment for your property.

3 Reasons to Prep your Storm Drains in December


1. The most rainfall occurs in January and February.

This makes December an ideal month to prepare your property’s storm drains for the oncoming rainfall that will take place in the first part of the year. Removing debris and sediment from your stormwater system now will help to prevent blockages, which could lead to backups and flooding when it rains.

2. You might have unused funds in your budget.

The year is winding down, and hopefully you have some remaining funds leftover from the year. The stormwater system is an important part of every property, and one that is often overlooked. Preventative maintenance now can mean savings in the future.

Even if you have an annual service program in place, check your service schedule. If the last service was this summer and your next service isn’t until spring, you may want to consider an extra inspection or cleaning.

3. We’re offering 10% off December stormwater service.

Call or email us to find out how you can save 10% off service in December. Some restrictions apply. Offer ends December 7th. Only a few openings left.

Budget Season is Here

Budget season has arrived for all you property and facilities managers, and we are well aware that stormwater system maintenance is not as glamorous as landscaping, painting or lighting retrofits. But just because the stormwater system is under ground and out of sight does not mean it should be out of mind.

In fact, stormwater system maintenance is just as important as any other item in your budget, especially if your property is outfitted with stormwater filtration units, also known as Best Management Practices (BMPs). Regular proper maintenance is not only critical for the condition of your stormwater BMPs, it’s also required by the city. And if that is not enough, it directly benefits the quality of our waterways.

We’ve updated our official guide for budgeting stormwater system maintenance so you can confidently and easily tackle this category in your 2019 budget. Get it now.

A Message from our CEO

Hi there! I’m Jayme. I’ve been working on building Seventy1 Environmental for over seven years now. Many of you I have known in some form for years, whether it be through email correspondence, phone calls or in-person visits. Some of you, I personally know from when I briefly worked in a property management office over a decade ago. And others of you, I really don’t know very much at all. But this vendor-manager relationship is an important one, so I thought I’d say hello, share a little about how things are going in our world, and make an effort to connect (you know, as humans!)

I don’t know about you, but the first three months of the year really flew by! There is a lot going on in 2018. This year we are celebrating ten years of business! We are in a critical stage of growth as a company, so we are actively navigating new challenges and implementing new systems. And our 2018 plan includes the addition of three new people to our small team, one of which we hired in February. We could not be happier to have Todd, our new Stormwater Technician join our team.

I’m also getting married this year, so add planning a wedding and a honeymoon to the list! Yep, there is a lot going on!

The common emotions in our office these past months have been excitement mixed with a little fear. Can we really do what we set out to do? My answer is yes, because I strongly believe anything is possible (though I do admit I have those moments of worry).

So what have we set out to do?

Well, our mission at Seventy1 has always been to build a self-sustaining business that serves the collective good of its people, its clients, and the environment. On a personal level, I strongly believe in doing what’s right, doing what’s fair, treating people with respect and taking care of this big, beautiful planet. Each member of our team carries that same sense of virtue, and it is because of this that we are where we are today.

In order to accomplish our mission, our overarching intentions this second quarter are to continue delivering high-quality service to each of our clients while also increasing the amount of properties we service (hey, do you need a bid?) and successfully hiring and training two new team members (We’re hiring!) to take our business to the next level.

There are endless lists of tasks to tackle, and I’m sure you feel it too. Property Managers always seem to have at least ten somethings on their plates, and there’s no doubt the role of managing an entire apartment complex or shopping center or office building requires multi-tasking, excellent time management skills, and plenty of patience. So I hope this message finds you well, and that you have a wonderful Spring and productive second quarter!

If there is anything our team can do as a vendor to make your job easier, I would personally love to know what that is. Please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn or send me a message to say hello.


Jayme Welch

CEO | Seventy1 Environmental

PS. The Annual Stormwater TCBMP Maintenance Verification season is fast approaching.

Soon, City stormwater departments will start sending out their Annual TCBMP Maintenance Verification paperwork, requesting proof that your stormwater filtration system is being properly serviced. Check out our Stormwater Compliance Checklist to prep your property for compliance.

Southern California’s Worst Storm Drains 2017

Our Stormwater Techs cleaned some pretty gross storm drains and stormwater filtration systems in 2017. We’ve put together a photo gallery of some of the worst we encountered last year.

Stormwater runoff flows to nearby waterways. It is a major source of water pollution because it carries litter, oil, heavy metals, fertilizers, bacteria and chemicals from paved surfaces straight into the ocean. Stormwater is not treated.

That being said, a word of warning, this gallery might make you feel icky.

Anyone order a Starbucks?
Inside a stormwater vault
Catching litter
Soccer? Football?
Backed up
From our streets
Filtration Inserts do their job
Storm Drain Catch Basin
Stormwater Filtration Vault
A shopping cart
Grime & damage
Cans and Balls
Filtration insert
This is our trash
Drink containers
Insert in a catch basin
Pizza box
Plastic and more plastic
Service Overdue

 Want more information on how you can be a part of the stormwater pollution solution? Check out StormwaterAware

Five Reasons Managers Schedule Stormwater Service in Fourth Quarter

Seventy1 Environmental
A stormwater filtration insert

It’s hard to believe it’s already fourth quarter! Halloween is fast approaching and before we know it, we’ll be eating, drinking and being merry. Tis the season that is fourth quarter. As many of you are wrapping up your 2018 budgets and beginning preparations for closing out this year, we’d like to take a moment to outline five reasons Property Managers and Facilities Managers schedule stormwater service during fourth quarter:

1. They know the impact of falling leaves and debris on storm drains.

Fall leaves on storm drain
storm drain catch basin
san diego storm drain

Fall is here! Leaves and debris from trees collect near and inside storm drains. Not only can this impact the flow of water off of your property, it also poses a threat downstream. Excess nutrients are harmful to marine life. A fourth quarter service of your storm drain catch basins is a good way to prevent backups and keep aquatic plants and animals happy and healthy.

2. They are prepping their storm drains for the rainy season.

Backup in the storm drain
Loading dock backup
stormwater runoff

October is the official start of the Rainy Season in Southern California. It’s true that it does not rain much in this part of the country. However, this is the very reason why we see backups and flooding when it does rain. During the dry season, trash and debris collect in the storm drain catch basins. As soon as water hits the pavement, more trash and debris is washed from the roads and parking lots into the storm drains.

Many managers schedule stormwater service at this time of year to prepare their drains for the season ahead.

3. Their property’s system has not been serviced this year.

Filtration insert at capacity
Insert in need of cleanout

If your property has a stormwater filtration system, you’re required to maintain it every year. Maintenance is verified during the city’s Annual Maintenance Verification process.

In addition to satisfying city requirements, maintenance also prevents backups and odors. Filtration devices are designed to capture pollution flowing from the street level and overtime, it builds up. Without regular removal and cleanout of the trash, sediment and debris, it can actually become an obstruction in the storm drain.

4. They received a Stormwater Deficiency Notice from the City.

Damaged Insert - Deficiency

Deficiency Notices can happen for a variety of reasons: damaged devices, poorly maintained system, excess debris, spent filter media, etc. Sometimes the City Inspector visits a property a month or two after maintenance service has taken place and the system has already collected a good amount of pollution that the inspector notes it needs another service. Whatever the reason, we often handle Deficiency Notices during this last quarter of the year.

5. They have room in their budget for extra property services and improvements.

storm drain catch basin
stormwater vault san diego
Filterra and trash/litter

Stormwater systems often go unnoticed because they are underground and out of sight, however it’s an important part of your property. Once rainwater hits your property, it has to flow somewhere. Managing and maintaining the system so that water flows where it should will save you a lot of stress should a large storm event hit.

In addition, a stormwater filtration system plays a significant role in preventing pollution from reaching local waterways. Some managers of older properties that are not required to have stormwater filtration systems actually elect to install filtration devices on their storm drains as a way to “green” their property. We’ve seen several managers use leftover funds from their budget for this property improvement expense during fourth quarter.

Heal the Bay Annual Report: How’s the Water Quality at your Favorite Beach?

Heal the Bay’s annual Beach Report Card came out this month, highlighting the impact of stormwater runoff on water quality.

“Record rainfall created billions of gallons of polluted runoff, which poured into storm drains and out to the ocean. Nearly 48% of California’s beaches received C to F grades, about 12% more than the statewide five-year average,” the report states.

The annual Top Ten Beach Bummers list reveals the beaches with the worst water quality on the California coast. And the Honor Roll list shows all the beaches that received an A+ year round. Is your favorite beach on either of these lists?

There is a ton of great information in the beautifully-designed full report here.

CreativeLive, Tara Gentile & Growth Styles™

I recently took part in my first CreativeLive class. The full day workshop on goal-setting and planning was led by Tara Gentile, and it could not have been more appropriate content for where we are at Seventy1 right now. Things are changing, our company is growing, and it’s a very important time to be clear, strategic and deliberate. It’s critical that we clearly state the direction we are headed as a company and layout how we are going to get there. This class was really helpful and brought up some interesting points on values, direction and growth.

One of the more interesting take-aways, I thought, was the concept of what Tara has coined “growth styles.” It’s the idea that we should focus on one specific point of leverage to grow our business, and our growth style dictates what that leverage should be. (I think this idea can be applied not only to business growth, but also to professional growth in our personal careers.)

There are eight growth styles, each with its own point of leverage. For example, I am the Exploration Growth Style, which utilizes the power of curiosity to grow. Pat, on the other hand, is the Bespoke Growth Style, which uses the power of process. This explains why he is so great at project management. I’d say curiosity and process have both been driving forces in the history of Seventy1. This topic of growth styles is going to be an important one during our quarterly meeting later this month.

Which growth style do you most align with?