Hydrologic and water quality performance of bioretention cells during plant senescence




Dhami, Jessica

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Bioretention cells (also known as rain gardens) are a Low Impact Development (LID) method for sustainable stormwater management. An increasingly popular form of urban stormwater infrastructure, bioretention cells use an engineered, vegetated-soil-system to both reduce quantity and enhance quality of stormwater. The ability of bioretention systems to remove common pollutants from urban stormwater runoff, and reduce runoff volume through evapotranspiration, in a temperature climate during plant senescence were assessed in this full scale field-based study. Stormwater run-off simulations were conducted for 5-, 10-, and 25-year return period storm events at a field site in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Tests were run on both, a vegetated cell planted with a mix of Betula nigra, Betula nana, and Salix lutea, and a control cell with turfgrass. Influent and effluent field parameters were recorded for pH and dissolved oxygen (DO), in addition to lab analyses conducted to quantify COD, TN, TON, TP, ortho-phosphate, and TSS removal from the stormwater. Water quality and hydrologic performance were results were compared between the vegetated and control cell using a Wilcoxon Signed Rank Test. In addition, hydrologic results were correlated with daily Evapotranspiration (ET) and meteorological station data using Spearman’s Rho Correlation. The vegetated cells were more effective (p value < 0.05) at retention of water volume, DO, COD, and orthophosphate, when compared to the control. Strong correlations (p value < 0.05) were found between the retention of water volume, and each of ET, maximum temperature, average temperature, minimum temperature, and average wind, for only the vegetated cells.



Stormwater, Low Impact Development, Green Rainwater Infrastructure