Despite water being a natural element, it can be detrimental to the environment and to urban development when it’s not managed properly. Flooding occurs when there is a surge of runoff with no way to manage it. When there is flooding in developed areas, or even rural areas, the excess amount of standing or moving water can affect manmade structures and existing habitats.

While communities continue to develop and expand, rainfall persists. This means we need to find the best way to manage this natural resource to not only benefit ourselves but also the surroundings we occupy. Rather than flooding nearby untouched and metro areas, we have to find ways to avoid both.

One option: a geocellular stormwater storage system. These systems can make commercial and residential development safe while still managing to support our environment. Here’s how.

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ACO StormBrixx SD top covers being placed at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. Photo courtesy of ACO, Inc.

What is a Geocellular Stormwater Storage System?

Geoceullular stormwater storage systems are a widely accepted method of storing stormwater. When it comes to picking the right drainage products, the goal is to be as efficient as possible. But the problem with many stormwater solutions is that they lack accessibility for maintenance.

Unlike other offerings, ACO StormBrixx is an underground geoceullular stormwater storage system that provides solutions for water detention, retention, reuse, and infiltration problems.

  • Detention is the process of spreading the peak flow of a storm event over a long period of time, releasing the water slowly, and mitigating the surge effect downstream where the stormwater returns to the natural water course.
  • Retention, or reuse, is the subsequent process of storing the stormwater for further use. Sediment can be removed before water enters the retention system by pretreatment or sediment forebays/isolation within the systems.
  • Infiltration is the process by which the collected stormwater enters subsurface soil and rock. An infiltration tank stores water, which is gradually released through a geotextile fabric into the surrounding soil. Sediment should be removed before water enters the infiltration system.

The ACO StormBrixx system is made from a single recyclable polypropylene body that can be assembled in a variety of ways. This versatility means Stormbrixx to be used in applications across all construction environments or as part of a sustainable drainage system. Due to the nature of the ACO StormBrixx design, we can provide customized layouts and configurations for any size or shape footprint, cost, deadlines, and even AASHTO HS20 and HS25 load ratings to meet the demands of your project.

How is StormBrixx Made?

Throughout the production process of an average StormBrixx system, we look for every way to maximize the procedure and to garnish full utilization. Only three machines are needed to produce the main StormBrixx system. The largest machine produces the StormBrixx bodies, the medium size machine produces the StormBrixx side panels, and the smallest machine produces the StormBrixx top covers. Minimizing the amount of machines and steps also minimizes waste, which is important not only to ACO but also to customers and our planet.

Aside from those three machines, we have an accessory, the StormBrixx Remote Access Unit, that is produced in a different process called rotational molding, which is even more efficient, as the whole process uses exactly what it needs with no wasted material. Rotational molding also requires minimal post-production part finishing, which helps separate it from competing plastic production processes.

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The StormBrixx SD Half-Layer system installed in Horsehead, New York. Photo courtesy of ACO, Inc.

How is StormBrixx Installed?

Once the ACO StormBrixx system parts are produced and quality tested, they’re ready to head out to the job site. Due to the smart design and lightweight material, you’ll find StormBrixx is much easier to ship and store than anything else on the market. The stackable design of the StormBrixx underground stormwater detention system, where the base units nest together, means less vehicles are needed for transportation to sites when compared with other stormwater storage tank manufacturers. The side panels and other accessories also nest together. For each delivery of ACO StormBrixx product, up to four truckloads of competitor product may be required, making StormBrixx approximately 75% more efficient in delivery. At the end of the day, the logistics of deliveries—without multiple trucks needing to park while waiting to unload—is reduced.

Having fewer vehicles and pallets moving StormBrixx also reduces CO² emissions, and with a trend of congestion charges for central urban areas, savings can be made from fewer deliveries. I believe StormBrixx continually proves to be one of the most environmentally efficient solutions on the surface water management market because ACO always finds a way to minimize carbon emissions and waste in manufacturing, transportation, and on-site assembly.

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The StormBrixx HD system being installed in Flagstaff, Arizona. Photo courtesy of ACO, Inc.

Once its on-site, ACO StormBrixx achieves extraordinary efficiency rates when it comes to the quick and easy installation that requires minimal work. StormBrixx has a patented brick-bonding and cross-bonding feature that allows for the system to be installed in a fraction of the time when compared to other products. This means a small team can work in a small footprint to achieve exponentially larger goals. That small footprint I mentioned? That’s thanks to the design of the ACO StormBrixx, which achieves a 95% to 97% void ratio, allowing for the system to be able to handle more water and remain lightweight, without sacrificing its AASHTO load ratings.

Let’s keep in mind, the smaller the system, the smaller the footprint, and therefore less waste produced. ACO StormBrixx can achieve up to 30% to 35% smaller than some other traditional stormwater management products, some of which don’t provide the same benefits.

Installing ACO StormBrixx can be done with less transportation vehicles, a smaller footprint, a smaller crew with less equipment, and in less time. I find all these savings add up to prove that there is less waste and less pollution generated in the process.

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The ACO StormBrixx HD system being installed at Corona Del Mar High School in Newport, California. Photo courtesy of ACO, Inc.

Where Can StormBrixx Be Installed?

StormBrixx can be installed in almost any application, but I find it very common for most systems to be installed under or near landscaped areas in order to use any excess runoff to recharge groundwater within the nearby soil and landscaping. This is often in conjunction with sustainable urban drainage systems (SuDS). Sustainable urban drainage systems are a form of mixing modern water management solutions with natural resources to benefit the nearby environment. Often SuDS are used to manage rainfall and runoff to avoid flooding but then allow for the slow and continuous release of this water back into the nearby environment. This helps mitigate the impact of urbanization and flooding in a way that is conscious of the nearby wildlife.

Sustainable urban drainage systems go hand-in-hand with low-impact development regulations regarding the application of stormwater runoff management systems as part of green infrastructure. On top of that, ACO StormBrixx is designed to be installed and meet the requirements of Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4). MS4 is part of the attempt to ensure that we don’t sacrifice the future and the world we have for some small, temporary interest. MS4 refers to a collection of structures designed to gather stormwater and discharge it into local streams and rivers.

Although these regulations may slightly differ from state to state, we do our best at ACO to make sure that whenever a sustainable solution can be applied, it will be.

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The ACO StormBrixx SD stormwater storage system being installed at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. Photo courtesy of ACO, Inc.

Why ACO StormBrixx?

Sustainable surface water management is becoming an integral part of most planning applications. Consideration should be given to the management of both the quantity and the quality of water discharged off-site, along with ongoing maintainability.  A sormwater storage system like ACO StormBrixx facilitates the process to prevent or reduce the amount of pollution generated.

I’m also happy to let you know that ACO Stormbrixx is Best Management Practices (BMP) compliant, which describes ways to manage your land and activities to mitigate pollution of surface and groundwater nearby. These are acceptable practices that could be implemented to protect water quality and promote control of wastewater. Part of how we do this is by designing StormBrixx with specific release rates back into the natural watercourse that are set by federal, state, and city regulations.

ACO StormBrixx is designed to be open and accessible for maintenance and provide long-term benefits to the environment, the property owner ,and those responsible for maintenance. Consistent upkeep once StormBrixx is installed means you won’t have to worry about the quality or quantity of water being stored and released.

ACO performs a Creep Test on StormBrixx to ensure that our products are able to withstand the loading ratings and lifespan in all applications. I feel that there needs to be more federal legislation that has higher standards for the products and requirements surrounding them. Stricter regulations on product functionality to prevent system failures can potentially save millions of dollars on replacements and repairs.

I believe that ACO StormBrixx provides top-of-the-line quality and sustainable stormwater management solutions for detention, retention, reuse, and infiltration purposes. StormBrixx is made with our long-lasting and recyclable raw material using our proprietary blend that can help benefit the environment and its inhabitants. The long-term environmental focuses of StormBrixx through LID, SuDS, MS4, and BMP offers qualities and benefits that help us advance in the right direction—the future.

It’s time to focus more on developing federal legislation and standards that prevent inadequate solutions being offered to the market. Geoceullar stormwater storage systems like StormBrixx are leading the way to improvement.

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