On the rare occasion I get invited to a party, I like preparing topical jokes, funny anecdotes, and ways of explaining my job as a stormwater engineer that won’t instantly put the other guests to sleep. So when someone asks what I do, I usually pique their curiosity by answering, “I make the world a cleaner place, one storm at a time.” This usually gets a follow-up question about what that means or a confused look and a request to tell another joke about pineapples.

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Hydrodynamic separators are primarily designed to treat stormwater runoff by removing pollutants such as sediment, debris, oil, and grease. But what happens when tailwater conditions obstruct the flow?

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Stormwater management is a critical aspect of sustainable urban development, and hydrodynamic separators (HDS) play a vital role in this process. In this blog post, we delve into the intricacies of HDS devices, looking at the different components, each serving a specific purpose in removing and retaining stormwater pollutants while adhering to hydraulic requirements.

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As stormwater quality regulations become increasingly stringent, civil engineers are turning to stormwater filtration Best Management Practices (BMPs) to meet the demand for higher pollutant removal efficiency. In this blog post, we will explore the fundamentals of stormwater filtration, focusing on pollutant removal mechanisms, sizing methods, filtration mediums, and the advantages of proprietary systems.

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Red flags are design elements that are commonly or easily overlooked and may need extra attention when designing. Considering the red flags upfront will expedite the design and fabrication process, and eliminate delays, installation, and performance issues.

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The terms “high-rate biofiltration” and “runoff reduction” aren’t often used in the same sentence. The engineering community has a preconceived notion that a high-rate biofilter with an underdrain (like Filterra®) can’t provide runoff reduction benefits because the stormwater it treats moves through the practice too quickly. However, with the proper design considerations, we can maximize the capability of a high-rate biofilter to provide appreciable runoff reduction.

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In civil engineering and stormwater management, a design storm refers to a specific rainfall event defined and described by the statistical likelihood of the event occurring in a given rainfall year. Design storms are used as a standard for designing and evaluating stormwater infrastructure. For example, local stormwater standards commonly call out the 1, 2, 5, 10, 50, and 100-year storm events and the water quality storm event for a given geography, each of which plays a role in the design and implementation of stormwater infrastructure.

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At first glance, it's easy to get excited over how much innovation has occurred in the field of stormwater management in recent years. A wide variety of new stormwater control measures (SCMs) have been developed and deployed for use while we simultaneously worked to refine our design standards for our tried and true practices to improve their functionality.

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Stormwater runoff is a significant source of water pollution, carrying various pollutants from urban areas into natural water bodies. Most stormwater treatment efforts have focused on the capture of total suspended solids. Still, significant pollutant loads can be attributed to dissolved pollutants, such as heavy metals, nutrients, and organic compounds, which can have detrimental effects on aquatic ecosystems and public health.

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Eliminating illicit discharges within our storm sewers through an illicit discharge detection and elimination (IDDE) program is critical to improving the overall health of local waterways. Illicit discharges, like stormwater runoff generated within the municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4), flow directly into a receiving waterbody. Whereas post-construction stormwater control measures (SCMs) are designed to reduce typical pollutants (e.g. sediment, trash, and nutrients) in stormwater runoff prior to it entering receiving waters, illicit discharges pose a unique challenge because they contain atypical pollutants that can go untreated and may also increase the maintenance frequency of post-construction SCMs.

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