Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2012UT168B

Performance of Stormwater Bioretention Systems in Utah’s Climate and Hydrologic Conditions

Institute: Utah
Year Established: 2012 Start Date: 2012-03-01 End Date: 2013-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $24,037 Total Non-Federal Funds: $78,523

Principal Investigators: Steven Burian, Christine Pomeroy

Abstract: Oftentimes, legal, social, and political barriers prevent the implementation of green infrastructure practices, such as bioretention, across a greater scale within a watershed or region. Specifically, the effects of bioretention and decentralized stormwater management on groundwater recharge are often viewed as potential risks to a project because of unknown infiltration rates. Bioretention cells are designed to retain stormwater input in the soil storage layers for treatment and consumption by deep-rooted natural vegetation. Working in collaboration with various partners in the Salt Lake City metropolitan area, researchers from the University of Utah will design and construct a new field-based bioretention facility and examine whether bioretention cells are able to reduce stormwater runoff and nutrient transport within urban environments in semiarid climates, as well as their effects on infiltration rates, groundwater recharge, and biodiversity. The site will also serve as a demonstration and outreach site. Results of this research study will help educate citizens, policy makers, and water resources professionals on the effects of bioretention on infiltration and potential groundwater recharge. This will lead to improved designs, modified policies and improved long-term effectiveness of bioretention systems in Utah.