The Stormwater Blog 

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

Phosphorus Leaching from Bioretention and Green Roofs: The “Dirty Little Secret”

Bioretention and green roofs have become the centerpieces of Low Impact Development (LID) initiatives throughout North America. The well-publicized benefits of these two types of stormwater management practices focus on runoff reduction, stormwater quality treatment, and landscape aesthetics. Promotional literature provided by various regulatory agencies and environmental organizations typically highlights the processes and mechanisms within bioretention and green roofs that provide desirable outcomes. Normally, one finds mention of evapotranspiration, filtering, and adsorption characteristics of the vegetation and soil mix as beneficial mechanisms for the purposes of runoff reduction, particulate and hydrocarbon removal, and dissolved pollutant capture, respectively.

Three Steps to Evaluate Stormwater Filtration System Hydraulics

System hydraulics refers to how water flows through a stormwater filtration system. The following three steps should be part of the hydraulics evaluation process.

Categories: Treatment
When Conventional Bioretention is Not Feasible, Consider Tree Box Filters
Perhaps the most recognized Low Impact Development technique, bioretention, incorporates landscaped features to slowly percolate stormwater runoff through plants and engineered soil prior to infiltrating that water into native soils.
Evaluating Media for the Filtration of Stormwater

During the past decade, a number of different media have been used for stormwater filtration and more recently for bioretention. Media such as sand, peat, and compost have been used successfully. Uses of perlite, zeolite, carbon, and other "exotic" media have expanded the choices for targeting specific pollutants. Media are now being used to target TSS, Petroleum Hydrocarbons, Dissolved Phosphorus, dissolved metals and even bacteria. More recent research in biofiltration adds elements of biological uptake of nutrients and metals by plants, conversion of Nitrogen into ammonia in anaerobic zones.

Categories: Treatment, Filtration
Is Green Infrastructure Diminishing Innovation?

Since the Environmental Protection Agency, and in turn state and local regulators, have gone all in on green infrastructure (GI) and low impact development (LID) concepts a seemingly regrettable consequence has emerged.  Topics specific to the broader adoption and implementation of GI have monopolized our collective dialog on stormwater management of late.   The predominantly positive press and barrage of GI heavy conference agendas seemingly suggest that if we apply GI far and wide then water quality impairments caused by urban runoff will soon be a thing of the past.  GI provides stormwater practitioners with invaluable tools to aid in the stormwater fight, but many site specific challenges can’t be surmounted with GI solutions alone.  To that end, should we be concerned that overemphasis on GI is discouraging innovation?

Three Maintenance Tips For Your Rainwater Harvesting Cistern
All stormwater systems need to be maintained to continue operating effectively, and rainwater harvesting (RWH) is no exception. Unfortunately, many owners do not care that their stormwater BMP is not functioning due to lack of maintenance. Maintenance of RWS systems is critical for owners that depend on their continued operation and associated utility savings. Proper maintenance of a RWH cistern helps protect water quality and ensure system performance.
Why Pretreat Your Stormwater Infiltration System?
Hands down, the most important factor in the sustainability of any infiltration system is proper maintenance. By their very nature, infiltration systems are difficult to inspect and maintain. The selection of a cost-effective and easy-to-access treatment system can mean a huge difference in maintenance expenses for years to come.
Four Rainwater Harvesting Cistern Design Considerations
Rainwater Harvesting does not have a long history of use in modern site design, but now that it is a topic of interest, many engineers have questions about this new practice. Many of these questions center on cisterns, which are at the heart of every rainwater harvester system. This post looks at four rainwater harvesting cistern design considerations – sizing, design life, structural capacity and installation.
Thinking Outside The Box: Infiltration System Layouts
Historically, underground infiltration beds have been laid out in either square or rectangular shapes, sometimes far away from where the actual rain drops fall. These large systems are typically fed by a series of upstream catch basins and conveyance pipes. Several factors contribute to site layout, but mostly it simplifies the hydrologic and hydraulic modeling process, and keeps infiltration beds away from more sensitive underground infrastructure.
Leaves, Trees, and Stormwater BMPs: Designing with Maintenance in Mind
Preserving large trees as runoff interceptors is an integral part of low impact development as well as incorporating trees and vegetation in filtration beds, rain gardens, and bioretention systems. These systems are extremely beneficial and provide essential functions of the natural landscape: infiltration, evaporation, transpiration, interception, and shading.
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