The goal of any CMP detention system should be to maximize the vertical space available to minimize the overall footprint, to reduce material, excavation, and backfill costs. To do this we recommend using the largest diameter pipe possible.
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.
Rainwater harvesting (RWH) stores rainwater for reuse to supply non-potable uses like irrigation, wash water, toilet flushing, and laundry. During long dry periods the demand will drain the storage cistern down to a critical level where the pressurization pump(s) will need to shut down to prevent dry run damage. Make up water is typically a potable connection to the rainwater harvesting system to supply water, allowing the RWH system to continue to supply the non-potable end use applications until the next storm event refills the storage cistern.
As a volume based stormwater control measure, bioretention systems are providing beneficial use in that they reduce runoff volumes and peak flows. In areas where combined sewers are an issue bioretention can reduce CSO frequency while increasing evapotranspiration and helping with groundwater recharge via infiltration processes. Common design criteria include storage volume and a design infiltration rate of the media and the underlying native soils. These criteria are tied to the site characteristics and statistical hydrology, for example, design the storage volume such that 95% of the mean annual runoff volume is retained. In addition to these sizing criteria we also need to design with these other factors in mind.
As bioretention becomes more popular, many types of designs are being deployed throughout the U.S. Though relatively simple in concept, many are finding that the devil is in the details with respect to maintenance and performance. These issues are driving newer designs and improving criteria for use. Over my next few posts, I will be sharing some of the experiences and lessons learned with bioretention design.
At about 2.5% of the total water volume on the planet, we’ve always had roughly the same amount of freshwater. Unfortunately, it seems that, at the local level, the amount of fresh water made available through precipitation is increasingly erratic, with the last year featuring historic floods in the eastern US and historic drought in the west. In my adopted home state of California, 2013 was officially the driest year on record and snowpack, groundwater and reservoir levels throughout the state are critically low. Although we’ve undertaken extensive engineering feats in the form of reservoirs, diversions and water supply pipelines, local water management decisions provide our greatest leverage on local water supply.
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