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UM advanced bio-filtration system promises less Chesapeake pollution
Date:8/9/2010

mpact even further," Davis adds.

The campus is current on all stormwater and other environmental permits and this project is not part of any legally mandated cleanup efforts. "Success in this project will have enormous impact for continued retrofit and new designs for reductions in nitrogen, phosphorus, sediment, and runoff volume to the Chesapeake Bay," says the project proposal.

HOW IT WORKS

Over the past two decades, bioretention technologies have been used in the Chesapeake Bay watershed with some success. Runoff from parking areas is directed into a carefully engineered, yet natural, sponge-like layer of greenery that slows the onrush of rain water and helps remove a suite of pollutants.

"A matter of minutes or hours can make all the difference in the quality of the rain water that empties into a creek," Davis explains. "Detaining the runoff gives us the margin of time needed to filter it and remove critical pollutants."

Where the current technology has fallen short is in the removal of phosphorous and nitrogen. These pollutants "remain the top concerns for the Chesapeake Bay," their proposal says, especially in urban areas.

To achieve enhanced phosphorous and nitrogen removal and to conserve rain water for useful purposes, the project involves the following parts:

  • ENHANCED BIORETENTION FOR PHOSPHOROUS REMOVAL: Existing projects will be retrofit and new bioretention strips constructed. These natural soil and vegetation strips, roughly 50 by 10 feet, work like a sponge, capturing and delaying runoff after rain showers. An added layer of a special powdered aluminum hydroxide will help strip phosphorus from the runoff. The engineers predict very low phosphorous discharge levels.

  • NITROGEN NEUTRAL PARKING LOT: A permeable, porous concrete campus parking area will be constructed for enhanced nitrogen removal. Rain water will collect and drain through this area into a submer
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Contact: Neil Tickner
ntickner@umd.edu
301-405-4622
University of Maryland
Source:Eurekalert  

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