College Park, Maryland

Photo of IKEA at College Park, Maryland

When IKEA’s largest superstore in the D.C. region had a stormwater retention emergency, they called on JPG Services to help.


Built in 2003 on 45 acres off Route 1 at Interstate 95 in College Park, Md., IKEA’s high-performing superstore is the third and largest IKEA store in the region, featuring multiple showrooms, a restaurant in-store, with surrounding retail and office space in the mixed-use zoning around the store. The 340,000 square-foot store, built in IKEA’s signature big-box, stand-alone warehouse style in distinctive bright blue and yellow exterior, supports its many customers with a large asphalt parking lot — and also happens to be adjacent to a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Conservation area, home to many local animals including several species of beavers and several species of important migratory birds. The potential for runoff from the asphalt parking structure into the protected conservation area was a significant concern for IKEA, a company known for its sensitivity to environmental issues.

Adding to runoff concerns, IKEA’s on-site stormwater retention structure became prone to blockages at the low-flow outlet, resulting in catastrophic surcharges — and expensive repair projects to clear up the problem. Outlet pipe clogs were not detectable without a site visit, and were only cleared by pumping out millions of gallons of water caused by the blockage. 


After two years of consistent clogs and costly emergency repairs, IKEA turned to JPG Services, the D.C. metropolitan area’s leading experts in commercial HVAC, industrial VAC, and plumbing solutions, to diagnose the problem and design a solution to what had become a $40k expense to mitigate clogs — with no permanent solution identified.

JPG Services implemented a traditional repair — pumping out gallons of excess water — to allay the immediate risk of runoff and potential environmental damage. Then JPG went to work diagnosing the issue and identifying a long-term, efficient solution. With decades of experience providing organizations with budget-saving remediation to serious stormwater management issues, JPG Services immediately identified the downsides of any short-term solutions, including costly visits to inspect water levels, and more than likely, annual emergency pumping. And, if IKEA only acted to comply with annual inspections, there was a significant risk of a full tank and trash going over the overflow wall.

JPG Services Director of Industrial VAC, John Davis immediately identified a preventative solution that would save IKEA thousands of dollars, and give IKEA peace of mind that the USDA conservation area would be protected from any runoff damage such as sand and debris infiltrating streams and water systems.

The ideal—and cost-effective — solution? A unique industrial VAC product developed by JPG called TankVisionSM. This revolutionary product, offered only by JPG Services and in the process of being registered as a service mark, uses telemetry to allow JPG Services technicians a clear view of the tank. Monitored remotely by computer, alarm points are established TankVisionSM gives JPG technicians a daily view of the tank water level so that quick action can be taken if the water level rises above zero, and maintains water systems in good operating condition so that sand and debris do not infiltrate streams and water systems. Without clear vision into the tank? Costly visits to inspect water levels, and more than likely, annual emergency pumping. And, if IKEA only acted to comply with annual inspections, there is a significant risk of a full tank and trash going over the overflow wall.

Scope of Services

The outlined scope of services, including monitoring the TankVisionSM system, to mitigate outstanding clog issues and prepare the IKEA site for the installation of TankVisionSM included:

  • Pump 5 million gallons of stormwater to allow for safe, confined space entry into the structure.
  • Clear the outlet blockage and re-establish normal flow.
  • Install a TankVisionSM storm level monitor near the outlet and begin continuous monitoring of the structure’s performance.
  • Monitor stormwater levels via TankVisionSM system remotely at a once and hour frequency, with alarm points set to trigger texts/emails alerting JPG of a potential emergency issues.


IKEA has benefited significantly from the TankVisionSM  system’s most important feature: prevention. After more than a year of remote monitoring, JPG Services technicians began to observe data indicating a low-flow blockage and an increase in latent stormwater retention. The system was no longer fully discharging stormwater from the structure — and because the monitor has been in place, this condition was noticed long before an expensive remediation project was required or damaging runoff reached the USDA Conservation site. The potentially disastrous situation was resolved with a quick confined space entry to clear the outlet pipe to restore proper flow.

Tank VisionWith the TankVisionSM  system still in place at the IKEA store site, and with experienced JPG technicians tracking and monitoring water flow levels, tank performance is maintained in optimal condition. And when the water level does increase, indicating drain blockages, JPG is able to remedy the situation early, saving IKEA up to 75% of an emergency, and much more significant, repair.

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