The Stormwater Blog 

Contech Stormwater experts discussing Low Impact Development, Onsite Water Management, Rainwater Harvesting and all things Stormwater.


Water Quality


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How to Size a Hydrodynamic Separator
Hydrodynamic Separators (HDS) have been used in the stormwater industry for over 20 years.  They are effective at removing TSS, hydrocarbons, and trash and debris from stormwater runoff and are often used for standalone treatment or pretreatment to filtration, detention, infiltration and rainwater harvesting system.  With the varied applications for HDS units comes a multitude of sizing options. 
Leave the Bio in BioFilter...Plants Do Matter
Plants provide fresh oxygen to breathe and beautiful aesthetics that can take our breath away, but many people don’t think about the role plants can play in stormwater treatment. The principal notion of Low Impact Development (LID) is founded upon mimicking pre-development conditions. Part of mimicking pre-development conditions includes not just matching pre-development peak flow rates, but also matching the pollutant load discharging from the drainage area.
Hydrodynamic Separation Devices: Online Vs. Offline
The question of whether a hydrodynamic separator should be online vs. offline is something that engineers and stormwater treatment manufacturers deal with on a daily basis.  Online systems allow storm events that are greater than the design storm to be bypassed through the treatment unit, eliminating the need for a separate bypass structure.  This results in fewer structures and a smaller system footprint; which leads to a lower landed cost.  
Rain Gardens Not Permitted?

Current stormwater design guidance typically recommends starting with preservation of the natural landscape and hydrology wherever feasible. But, even with preservation, new stormwater management facilities are likely to be required to capture and clean runoff from pollution generating surfaces. These new stormwater facilities are likely to include imported soil or soil amendments that add permeability and/or optimize soil structure for vegetative growth. For many years, the industry has characterized media in vegetated facilities generically as soil, sand, compost, etc.

All Stormwater Particles Are Not The Same Part 2: Particle Shape And Density

EPA selected a removal standard of 80% total suspended solids (TSS) removal as the target pollutant of concern due to high TSS concentrations ubiquitous impact on water quality and degradation to aquatic habitat. Many other pollutants of concern are particle-bound, and TSS is thereby a surrogate for other pollutants. Testing methodologies for stormwater control measures (SCMs) in respects to TSS can vary greatly. There are many sediment characteristics that should be considered when evaluating a SCM for TSS removal performance to ensure apples and apples are being compared among removal efficiencies for SCMs.

All Stormwater Particles Are Not The Same. Part 1: Particle Size And Composition

The EPA selected a removal standard of 80% total suspended solids (TSS) removal as the target pollutant of concern due to high TSS concentrations impact on water quality and degradation to aquatic habitat. Many other pollutants of concern are particle-bound, and TSS is thereby a surrogate for other pollutants. Testing methodologies for stormwater control measures (SCMs) in respects to TSS can vary greatly. In part two, we’ll continue our look at stormwater sediment and discuss particle shape and density and their affect on TSS removal.

Bioretention Part Three: Lessons Being  Learned – Siting Issues and Inlet Design

Not done with siting issues yet, maybe this becomes five parts? One issue on siting and design is the hydraulic grade lines. Recall from your road drainage days the equations that were used to space catch pits and throat openings? The equations allowed for you to estimate gutter efficiency and top width for specified design storms. Well, these equations still apply, and I am thinking maybe even more considerations for very low flows.

EPA Guidance Provides New Options for Meeting TMDL Goals

The goal of the TMDL program is arguably simple - to develop watershed level conservation plans designed to restore impaired waters and attain applicable water quality standards – but its development and implementation has not been simple. In an attempt to bring new clarity to the process of incorporating TMDLs into stormwater permits, the EPA issued a revised guidance document last November entitled “Establishing Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Wasteload Allocations (WLAs) for Storm Water Sources and NPDES Permit Requirements Based on Those WLAs”.

Hydrodynamic Separators vs. Oil/Water Separators

There are a vast number of stormwater separators on the market which can make it challenging when selecting the ideal solution for each project.  Hydrodynamic separators and oil/water separators are often used interchangeably in the industry but each system is unique and one may be better suited for the overall treatment goals of the project.   So what is the difference between a hydrodynamic separator and an oil water separator and how can you determine which one is best suited for your project?

Rainwater Harvesting Disinfection Methods: Treat It Before You Use It
Using harvested rainwater is not new, it has been in practice for thousands of years (3000 B.C., and may be even earlier).  But we have something that wasn’t available back then; the ability to disinfect rainwater to make it safe for human contact or ingestion.  Harvested rainwater can be safely used outdoors and indoors if the correct steps are taken to treat it. The type of disinfection depends on how the water is going to be used and the requirements of local plumbing codes.  With modern disinfection, rainwater can even be filtered and disinfected to potable standards.
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