The Stormwater Blog 

Contech Stormwater experts discuss designing stormwater BMP’s, regulations, maintenance issues, and all things stormwater.


Testing


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Seeing the Forest and the Trees in Stormwater Treatment System Monitoring Data
The International Stormwater Best Management Practices (BMP) Database project website (http://bmpdatabase.org) features a database that includes over 600 BMP performance studies.  This is a tremendous free resource for engineers, scientists, policymakers and others who seek to characterize the pollutant removal and hydrologic performance of various stormwater treatment systems. And, like any database, it is only as reliable as the information that goes into it.  To improve reliability, their website also includes monitoring program design guidance and data input tools that allow a standardized format and content for summary reports.  However, whether looking at an individual test of a single treatment system or a database with hundreds of results, it is important to focus not only what the data tells us, but also what stories we may be missing. 
What Tools Are in Your Stormwater Toolbox?
Over the last 20 years of site-civil design, it has been interesting to see stormwater trends come and go.  Some design methodologies have disappeared, only to return later or in a nearby geography as the “new” approach.  Agency directives can shift based on new leadership or the prevalent regional concerns at the time.  As the construction industry finds less expensive solutions or improved constructability, they can also lead a shift in regional site design.  Things change—and from many angles.
Don’t Bypass Good Design Part 1: Offline Vs. Online Diversion Structures
Months of design, pages of specifications, and tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars may go into the design of a single bioswale, filtration basin, or other stormwater treatment system. So why do we spend so little time thinking about the flow control devices that make them work? This article is part one of a two-part series on bypass design and focuses on external diversion structures as compared to treatment units with internal bypass capability.
My Relationship with Lab-based Stormwater Treatment Performance Testing

Oh stormwater treatment performance lab testing, your time-consuming, methodical steps make me want to pull my hair out. You often leave me with more questions than answers. However, the benefits often counterbalance the challenges. Thank you for answering my questions, even if I must endure the tedious steps of the scientific method; a method that researchers need to follow to answer questions related to cause and effect. The scientific method proves results are caused by isolating variables and testing in different conditions, to validate or invalidate a hypothesis.

Categories: Testing
Filter Loading: Why Mass Load Capacity Matters in Flow-Through Filters
Given the number of conversations I’ve had in recent months with other stormwater professionals that don’t entirely understand the value of incorporating the sediment mass load capacity of a filtration BMP into the design process, I feel it’s time to revisit the subject.  
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. 
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.  
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.

5 Key Concepts For Developing Local Stormwater Regulations

Drafting stormwater regulations that are clear, comprehensive and effective is crucial to protecting and preserving receiving waters.  The Clean Water Act has yielded a wide spectrum of local stormwater regulations and policies, but many leave something to be desired when it comes to actually mitigating the impacts of urban runoff.  It has been our experience that many local regulations are missing core components that are invaluable in achieving our ultimate goal.

Field Testing Stormwater BMPs: The Pros & Cons
As an industry, we’ve acquired a vast amount of knowledge about stormwater, its adverse impacts, and the best management practices (BMPs) implemented to mitigate them. However, the spirited debate with regard to whether the field or the laboratory is the best arena for evaluating BMP performance refuses to yield to consensus. Here are some of the arguments for and against field testing.
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