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Project ID: 2005NJ82B

Title: Examining Effects of Soil Compaction on Pollutant Removal Efficiency and Lifespan of a NJ Approved Stormwater Best Management Practice

Project Type: Research

Focus Categories: Water Quality, Water Quantity, Surface Water

Keywords: BMPs, stormwater, soil compaction, water quality, bioretention, infiltration

Start Date: 03/01/2005

End Date: 02/28/2006

Federal Funds: $5,000

Non-Federal Matching Funds: $18,667

Congressional District: 6

Principal Investigators:
Michael Mak

Christopher Obropta


A variety of BMPs are available to mitigate impacts of stormwater. The bioretention system, which is considered to be an alternative to conventional BMP structures such as stormwater wetlands or riparian forest buffers, is common to suburban settings, for the treatment of runoff from impervious surfaces.

The design of a bioretention system must account for soil compaction within the basin. Compaction in soil influences plant growth in multiple dimensions, primarily based on the degree of compaction. High levels of soil compaction result in high soil bulk densities to a degree at which plant roots are hindered from penetrating the soil. Due to the high bulk density of compacted soils, filtration rates though the soil media are reduced, causing excessive runoff though the system, and therefore affecting the efficiency of bioretention BMPs.

This research seeks to determine the ideal degree of soil compaction to optimize pollution removal efficiency of bioretention systems, to confirm the effects of soil compaction on the lifespan of bioretention systems though soil column studies, and to contribute to the overall stormwater knowledge-base through conference presentation(s), journal articles, and discussions. The experiment procedure infers creating compacted soil columns to model a bioretention system.

Progress/Completion Report PDF

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Maintained by: John Schefter
Last Updated: Wednesday June 22, 2005 3:32 PM
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