State Water Resources Research Institute Program


Project ID: 2011TN78B
Title: Evaluation of Bioretention Practices for Effective Stormwater Management and Treatment: A Laboratory to Field Study
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2011
End Date: 2/28/2013
Congressional District: Second, Knox County, Tennessee
Focus Categories: Sediments, Non Point Pollution, Water Quality
Keywords: Stormwater Management; Sediment, Infiltration, Bioretention; Water Quality
Principal Investigators: Ludwig, Andrea; Yoder, Daniel
Federal Funds: $ 18,968
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 38,112
Abstract: As urban development spreads to accommodate growing populations, the potential for degradation of surface water due to stormwater runoff increases. New federal regulations on stormwater discharges from urbanized areas require municipalities to obtain coverage under discharge permits, which require runoff reduction and treatment practices to mitigate for the land cover change. Municipal governments and developers are now charged with maintaining a stormwater pollution prevention plan that includes the design, implementation, and maintenance of best management practices for stormwater volume and pollution.

Bioretention is an emerging management tool that may reduce the volume of runoff while decreasing pollutant transport through increasing runoff retention time and contact with vegetation and substrates. This project will examine the effectiveness of stormwater best management practices (BMPs) that utilize bioretention concepts. BMPs will be installed through existing funding for BMP demonstration sites in the Beaver Creek Watershed, which is listed as impaired for habitat alteration and pathogens by the State of Tennessee. This project will be the first of many projects aimed at obtaining a database of BMP performance in the Eastern Tennessee Ridge and Valley Region. The work proposed here is subsample scale and will be completed on a single development. The long-term goal is to duplicate the proposed field study in many urban developments to create a sufficient database to make research-based recommendations to stormwater professionals on BMP design and implementation.

The objectives of Phase I of this project are to: 1) characterize stormwater volume and concentrations of pollutants of concern being transported from Cedar Crossings residential development and into Beaver Creek; 2) determine the effects of bioretention design variables (layer media composition, layer thickness, and saturation hydroperiod) on BMP performance through bench-scale laboratory column studies; 3) monitor the effectiveness of field-scale bioretention practices in Cedar Crossings for peak flow and pollutant attenuation at the study development; and 4) evaluate the effectiveness of these bioretention practices at this development for meeting infiltration requirements of new municipal stormwater management permits in Cedar Crossings.

The objectives of Phase II of this project are to: 1) develop a two step Home Stromwater Assessment tool to educate citizens on potential urban stormwater impacts and assist them in selecting home straegies to reduce theri stormwater runoff footprint, 2) pilot its use in the test neighborhood to evaluate its effectiveness, and 3) identify effective methods for implementing the tool in other comunities across Tennessee and the Southeaster region.

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