Measure twice, build once: Bench-scale testing to evaluate bioretention media design

Emilie K. Stander, Michael Borst, Thomas P. O'Connor, Amy A. Rowe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Rain garden design manuals and guidelines typically recommend using native soils or engineered media that meet specifications for soil and organic matter properties. However, constructed rain gardens often deviate from these recommendations. Planned pilot-scale research at EPA's Urban Watershed Research Facility proposed using a locally-available engineered media with a higher silt and clay content than typically recommended and adding layers of shredded newspaper as a carbon amendment to promote nitrate removal. A bench-scale experiment was conducted to test the drainage capability of the chosen media containing shredded newspaper layers. Surface ponding in all three treatments and grain size and clay mineralogy analyses demonstrated that finer particles had migrated into the deeper soils, which could have inhibited drainage. As a result of these findings, an alternate media containing less than five percent silt and clay was obtained for the pilot-scale study. The results of these studies underscore the importance of conducting bench-scale testing of bioretention media before installation in full-scale, working rain gardens, particularly when media characteristics differ from recommendations or when modified to promote stressor removal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationLow Impact Development 2010
Subtitle of host publicationRedefining Water in the City - Proceedings of the 2010 International Low Impact Development Conference
Pages126-138
Number of pages13
DOIs
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes
Event2010 International Low Impact Development Conference - Redefining Water in the City - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: Apr 11 2010Apr 14 2010

Publication series

NameLow Impact Development 2010: Redefining Water in the City - Proceedings of the 2010 International Low Impact Development Conference

Conference

Conference2010 International Low Impact Development Conference - Redefining Water in the City
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco, CA
Period4/11/104/14/10

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology

Keywords

  • Biological processes
  • Infiltration
  • Stormwater management

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