Storm water

The ABC’S of Drainage

Storm-related flooding and drainage issues made plenty of headlines this summer. Rains and downstream flooding related to Hurricane Florence created nightmare scenarios for residents of North and South Carolina. While all of us in Brevard County and across Central Florida can empathize with those to our north affected by the storm, the event also serves as a reminder of our own obligation to stormwater management here at home.

L.H. Tanner Construction offers a full range of stormwater management and drainage solutions for properties and projects of all sizes. We look at flooding events, such as what happened in the Carolinas, as an opportunity to share our knowledge and spread the word about possible solutions – ahead of the next heavy rainfall. In an effort to educate homeowners, neighborhood associations, business owners, municipal leaders and property managers about stormwater management and drainage, we’ve assembled a “glossary” of drainage-related terms. This is intended to serve as a resource for members of our community and beyond.


A porous, water collecting and filtering geological formation, generally capable of yielding an significant amount of water by way of wells or springs


A horizontal strip or shelf built on or cut into an hill to break the flow of a long slope, usually to reduce erosion by slowing and redirecting water.


A natural or man made formation on the surface or underground that water flows into such as a retention pond.


A partition built in a subterranean passage to stop the build up of debris or mud in a drainage system


A natural or man made waterway or conduit (such as a pipe) where water flows occasionally or continuously and forms a connection between bodies of water.


A closed structure used to transfer surface drainage under or through a obstacle such as a roadway or driveway so that traffic is not obstructed


The point at which water exits drainage pipe


Structures whose essential function is to stop the erosion of soil into a drain such as catch basins, bulkheads, spillways, flumes, drop boxes, pipe outlets and junction boxes.


A combination of drains, drainage structures, levees, and pumping plants that drains surplus water, protects land from overflow and erosion.


An impervious continuous structure built to contain overbank flow. Dikes are similar to levees, but generally much shorter. An example of dikes in the Brevard county are the containment walls on either side of the Melbourne-Tilman Canal is an example of a dike.


An artificial open waterway constructed through earth or rock to carry water in transit. A ditch is generally smaller than a canal. An example of this would be found along the side of the roads in Canaveral Groves in Cocoa where there are no municipal storm water drains.   


A ditch and any culvert, natural or man made, by which water on a property are transported away.


A subterranean box place in low areas to collect and disperse water through pipes away from property


A pathway to direct surface water into drainage system


The wearing away of material on the land surface or along bodies of water by wind, flowing water, or wave action. Here in Brevard county we see plenty of examples of this on our beaches and river banks after major hurricanes


Water below the earth’s surface that is in the zone of saturation, from which the aquifer, wells and springs are supplied.


Unable to be penetrated by water


Linear Pilings, rock or other material extending into a stream, river, or ocean to stop wave action from eroding land or damaging structures.

Learn more about L.H. Tanner site development services.


A subterranean box where two or more pipes are interconnected


An embankment built to prevent the overflow of a river.


Stones or man-made substance such as crushed concrete placed at the edge of bodies of water to protect against erosion from water overflow.


Precipitation that flows off the surface of a drainage area after accounting for evaporation, penetration, and retention.


An exit waterway in a body of water such as a retention pond that allows the drainage of excess water


Precipitation which finds its way into natural or manmade drainage channels.

Contractor tips for preventing flooding this storm season


A StormWater Pollution Prevention Plan identifies all potential sources of pollution which may reasonably be expected to affect the quality of storm water discharges from a construction site.  The SWPPP is a fundamental requirement of stormwater permits.


The collection and transfer of surplus groundwater via buried pipes, with water entering through unsealed joints, perforations, or through surface inlets.


The upper level of a zone of saturation in the earth.  In central Florida the water table is usually found from 0 to 60 feet deep.


An area of land that holds water for a prolonged period of time as to support aquatic vegetation growth such as swamps, bogs, marshes, and similar type of areas.  Locally we have wetlands such as Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands in the Melbourne area Pine Island Conservation area in North Merritt Island and St. Sebastian River State Buffer Preserve in Sebastian and many more.


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