Award-winning stormwater project: Reformulating a solution

Posted in: Environmental, Municipal, Water

Naturalized native-planted wet detention ponds provide stormwater treatment in areas of high groundwater

The University of Wisconsin – Madison Campus stormwater project is being recognized as an innovative project by The Daily Reporter. The basin is listed on the 303(d) Clean Water Act as “impaired” for excess of sediment and total phosphorus, and we helped the client meet stormwater quality treatment goals before discharge to nearby Lake Mendota and just downstream the Lower Rock River Basin.

Identifying suitable areas for stormwater treatment facilities was challenging on the mostly urban campus. The presence of high groundwater, wetlands and contaminated soils in the project area identified on the west side of campus presented additional challenges. We considered various alternatives tailored to meet the site specific constraints, such as bioretention facilities and naturalized ponds.

Bioretention facilities historically have used an engineered soil mix listed in the state’s Technical Standards, but these may not target phosphorus as effectively as desired. So we presented new technology solutions to the university, targeting a more effective removal of phosphorus from the stormwater runoff. The new engineered soil mixes also allowed for a reduced depth of engineered soil in the bioretention facilities. This was critical to locating these facilities where groundwater was potentially high. Naturalized ponds were recommended for the sites that had contaminated soils, wetlands and high groundwater.

university-of-wisconsin-stormwater-award-232x200pxThese are among the first bioretention facilities with these unique engineered soil mixes installed in Wisconsin. The four new engineered soil mixes contain either iron filings, Sorptive Media™ or a different combination of sand and compost than what has been used previously. These mixes were designed specifically to remove phosphorus. All four mixes contain less compost than the current approved mixes to minimize the amount of existing phosphorus within the compost released during operation.

Read more about this Top Project of 2014 in The Daily Reporter recognizing challenging and innovative construction projects in Wisconsin.

Anne Anderson, PE

About the Author

Anne Anderson, P.E., specializes in stormwater management, permitting, planning and municipal infrastructure projects. As a project manager and design team member, she has been involved in projects in the public and private sector throughout the Midwest. Read “Finding fulfillment beyond numbers: Mead & Hunt engineer taps new capabilities” that shares Anne’s love of storm water issues.

Read more posts by Anne Anderson, PE

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