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One could argue that plants are the most essential part of biofiltration systems such as bioretention, high performance biofilters, and rain gardens.  However, plant design presents a unique challenge for system designers.  What types of plants should be selected?  Will they work well in the system? Will they be aesthetically pleasing?  Designing a

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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

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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

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As rainwater harvesting is becoming a more popular choice for stormwater management and runoff reduction, additional features are becoming available to allow for monitoring, report generation, and managing systems from a website interface.Just like many stormwater treatment systems, sometimes rainwater harvesting systems are forgotten about because

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In part one of this three part series we looked at the value of underground detention systems. In part two, we will provide insight in designing efficient and cost effective systems.Regarding minimizing costs, the three most importing goals should be to shrink the footprint of the system by maximizing the storage volume within a given area,

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The two essential functions of a stormwater management system are to control the quality and quantity of runoff leaving a site. There are various ways to do this; a common method is with an above ground system in the form of a detention pond.The problem with ponds is that they take up usable land space therefore not allowing one to maximize their

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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

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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

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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

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The only sure way to eliminate stormwater pollution is to eliminate stormwater runoff. In recognition of this fact, Green Infrastructure (GI) and Low Impact Development (LID) practices have prioritized runoff reduction as a primary regulation for stormwater management.  These practices have proliferated throughout the United States.Surface

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Remember when stormwater filtration was at the forefront of runoff water quality treatment?  Have the variables and performances that led to its successful history been displaced by recent Green Infrastructure (GI) or Low Impact Development (LID) initiatives, or is filtration a viable partner in the GI and LID arena?  Boiling it down, why should we

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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

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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

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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. Where feasible, these systems can be a low cost, high efficiency stormwater management practice that can also

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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

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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,

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Traditional stormwater criteria require both improving the quality and managing the quantity of runoff. One of the best practices is to incorporate pretreatment, detention and treatment into an integrated system. This approach can meet total daily maximum load requirements by providing a high level of pollutant removal and preventing erosion damage

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Factors Impacting Rainwater Harvesting ROI When you mention a commercial rainwater harvesting system (RWH) to an engineer, developer or owner, one of the first questions you get is “what’s the ROI?” Return on Investment and Net Present Value vary widely depending on specific project variables and there is no one correct answer.  The three largest

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Mother Nature’s soil is the best of all urban stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs). Precipitation infilitrates the soil, reduces runoff, filters and captures most pollutants, recharges groundwater, and maintains a diverse, self-sustaining biological community.Conservation of natural soils and urbanization are diametrically opposed. When

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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

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The Low Impact Development (LID) approach to site development and stormwater management is rapidly becoming the required design approach in many areas of the United States.The basic principle is to use nature as a model and manage rainfall at the source. This is accomplished through sequenced implementation of runoff prevention strategies, runoff

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An increasing challenge that we see with our customers is balancing water quality with water quantity. Conventional design would be to use an in ground detention pond. But, if this is not an option, whether the owner does not want the aesthetics of a pond, the land needs to be used for parking, or you have a layer of clay soil that makes

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Innovation has become synonymous with the United States, serving as a catalyst for our economic growth and continuous improvement of our standard of living.Economics aside, if not for innovative scientific and technological breakthroughs we would be without countless apparatuses, methodologies, and other discoveries that now serve as solutions to

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 This short video explains how rainwater harvesting is a logical and feasible approach to managing stormwater runoff, citing example usage for a typical commercial office building.Current engineering practice divides management of drinking water, stormwater, and wastewater. A typical commercial office building may average 3.1 million gallons of

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1. IrrigationIrrigation is the most common application for harvested water. Treatment requirements are lower, which makes the harvesting system simpler, and the demand can quickly drain the cistern to make room for the next storm event. However, relying solely on irrigation for net-annual runoff reduction is rarely enough. In most locations, there

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Stormwater management is a broad topic, significant to us all.   It is important for the environment, there are endless regulations to abide by, an ever-expanding portfolio of products to choose from, budgets to meet and many opinions to consider. This is why we created The Stormwater Blog.At Contech, we have experts who have been in the stormwater

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Water is necessary for economic growth, a healthy environment and vibrant communities for future generations. With gridlock in Washington and broken budgets at all levels of government, it may not seem like the right time to make broad changes in water management policy. But change is happening and the catalyst for that change is stormwater

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Inspection and maintenance are key factors for making sure that your biofiltration box is performing as designed and achieving the required water quality standards.  Here are a few things to keep in mind...1. Protection from Construction DebrisBioretention box soil must be protected from compaction by heavy equipment traffic during construction.

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