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Kure Beach Dune Infiltration System: Examining Long-Term Effectiveness and Impacts of Stormwater Infiltration through Sand Dunes

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

Citation:  2010 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, June 20 - June 23, 2010  1008994.(doi:10.13031/2013.29889)
Authors:   William D Price, Michael R Burchell, William F Hunt, George M Chescheir
Keywords:   coastal stormwater, sand filter, best management practice (BMP), dune infiltration, bacteria removal, beach outfall, enterococcus

Urban development in coastal areas bolstered the need for stormwater treatment practices due to increases in impervious area that increased runoff and bacteria export. Prior to current stormwater regulations, some stormwater systems were constructed to discharge directly onto the beach, placing ocean swimmers at risk of contracting illnesses. In order to combat this issue, the Town of Kure Beach, NCDOT, and NCSU-BAE developed a new stormwater BMP, the Kure Beach Dune Infiltration System (DIS). The DIS was designed to capture the runoff from a 12.7 mm/hr (0.5 in/hr) storm event by diverting stormwater into subsurface StormChambers, located beneath the dunes, and allow for infiltration of stormwater within the dunes. Two DISs were constructed and monitored for several years. A control site, with no stormwater inputs, was also monitored. Thus far, monitoring results of the untreated stormwater revealed bacteria concentrations reaching as high as 53 times the state maximum, while post-treatment groundwater concentrations remained mostly below the state maximum. Overall, there was a 97% difference between the stormwater and groundwater bacteria median concentrations. Furthermore, 99% of all storm flows at the sites were captured and treated, with one system capturing all associated flows. Short term mounding of groundwater beneath the DISs occurred following infiltration events, but subsided within a few hours to days, to levels similar to those in a nearby control dune.

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