Properly Functioning Stormwater Drainage Systems Fight Against Flooding

New Jersey has always had to fight against floods, but increasingly harsh weather and an antiquated stormwater system mean the battle is a serious one. First-rate drainage is important for any business looking to keep its head above water.

It’s going to cost $15.6 billion to upgrade New Jersey’s aging stormwater systems, but it’s an expense that’s sorely needed. Our state was hit last year by more rain than we’ve seen in our history, and all that runoff must end up somewhere.

New legislation in the form of the Clean Stormwater and Flood Reduction Act was signed into law in March 2019 to improve the situation but caused some controversy. Whatever stance the public takes, it’s inarguable that highly efficient storm drainage will be required to handle the heavy loads of stormwater in our future; an element which creates a lot more problems than just soaking NJ residents.

The bigger problems with stormwater

The obvious issues caused are traffic hindrances, increased risk/occurrence of accidents, sinkholes, and possible severe structural damage to homes and businesses. These are terrible, but there are further dangers which aren’t so clear to the naked eye.

Stormwater is clean enough – until it hits the ground, that is. Stormwater is responsible for 60 percent of water pollution in New Jersey. Once it starts causing brooks, rivers and other water bodies to overflow, a wash of stormwater quickly becomes a carrier of pollutants into the wider community and negatively impacts humans, wildlife, and ecosystems.

When these rain tides cross over rural and urban areas (urban areas are usually harder hit because of a lack of natural drainage like soil), they pick up pesticides, bacteria, toxic chemicals, and other things like grease and oil.

Worse still, urban areas may find sewer systems engulfed beneath stormwater causing them to overflow and contaminate drinking water. Polluted water is already a problem for New Jersey with long-standing hazards including phosphorous, mercury, arsenic, and excessive bacteria.

All that pollution just gets picked up and spread around as stormwater goes on its way. Sadly, few New Jersey municipalities are expected to implement proper utilities despite this being the best course of action to meet modern standards for storm water management.

Where is it supposed to go?

Ideally, stormwater will flow into the storm drains you see dotted around parking lots and along sidewalks. Labeling requirements from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s municipal stormwater permitting program requires every storm drain be clearly marked in order to make people aware of non-point source pollution.

Once stormwater disappears down the drain, it should be rerouted and deposited into local waterways. New Jersey adopted stormwater management rules in the 1980s which utilized detention basins. These were designed to hold stormwater for gradual release through low-flow concrete channels and outlets into nearby bodies of water.

But, a worse-case scenario can take place. Combined sewer outflows common in older areas carry human waste and stormwater in the same pipes. Sewage should make its way to the nearest treatment plant, but that’s a struggle when stormwater is surging along the same passages.

When this combination is the case (which it is for 21 of New Jersey’s cities) the mixture of sewage, stormwater, and any pollutants along for the ride go right back into our rivers and out onto streets as drains overflow.

It’s an ugly situation that can escalate quickly and do lasting damage which can total in the millions of dollars. You can find more information on how New Jersey tackles stormwater on the DEP website and in their best practices manual. Our readers who own non-residential buildings such as commercial or industrial structures can find detailed information in this Stormwater Utilities Overview.

Let Mikula handle your commercial stormwater needs

We’re as passionate about the environment and community impact as we are about providing the highest service to our customers, so you can be assured that proper commercial stormwater solutions are a priority for us! Your commercial property is very likely at serious risk of falling foul of New Jersey’s outdated stormwater solutions and heavy weather that’s only set to get worse as the years go by.

We have a lot of experience in our 73-year history with solving commercial drainage problems. We offer our customers complete drainage design solutions that fit their property. Stormwater isn’t our only area of drainage expertise, either. We also provide ground and land drainage, surface drainage systems, rainwater drainage, seepage pit installation, and standing water drainage.

We’re a comprehensive drainage solution for commercial properties in Essex, Hudson, Bergen, Passaic, Morris, and Union Counties. You can be sure we’ll keep you informed and educated every step of the way, so you fully understand what’s happening and where your money is going.

Click here for a fast quote and let’s get to work protecting you and your property from the next wave of stormwater.


Mikula Contracting, Inc. provides commercial and residential customers with a wide range of excavation, demolition, environmental, snow removal, trucking and soil materials services. For more information, call 973-772-1684 or email

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