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Improving Water Quality and Hydrology Associated with Highway Bridge Deck Runoff Using Bioretention and a Swale

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2010 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, June 20 - June 23, 2010  1009016.(doi:10.13031/2013.29784)
Authors:   Stacy K Luell, William F Hunt, Ryan J Winston
Keywords:   Stormwater, bioretention, swale, nutrients, best management practice, urban runoff, hydrology

Higher contaminant concentrations in stormwater runoff are associated with the growing amounts of impervious surfaces in urbanized watersheds (Davis, 2008; Dietz and Clausen, 2005). The build-up/runoff cycle of pollutants on highways, along with the change in the hydrology associated with land development, degrades nearby surface waters. North Carolina State University monitored two bioretention cells and one swale located in Wake County, North Carolina, in an easement of an I-540 bridge deck near Mango Creek. This study directly compares a standard sized bioretention cell to a cell that was undersized by half the volume to determine their ability to remove TSS, TN, TKN, NH4-N, NO2-3-N, TP, Zn, Cu, and Pb from the bridge deck runoff. This study also examined the effectiveness of a grassed swale in treating highway bridge deck runoff. No research has yet been performed on designed undersized bioretention cells. This study has great implications for urbanized areas that are limited in space but need stormwater treatment.

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