Bioretention Technology: An Overview of Current Practice and Future Needs.

Bioretention, or variations such as bioinfiltration and rain gardens, has become one of the most frequently used storm-water management tools in urbanized watersheds. Incorporating both filtration and infiltration, initial research into bioretention has shown that these facilities substantially reduce runoff volumes and peak flows. Low impact development, which has a goal of modifying postdevelopment hydrology to more closely mimic that of predevelopment, is a driver for the use of bioretention in many parts of the country. Research over the past decade has shown that bioretention effluent loads are low for suspended solids, nutrients, hydrocarbons, and heavy metals. Pollutant removal mechanisms include filtration, adsorption, and possibly biological treatment. Limited research suggests that bioretention can effectively manage other pollutants, such as pathogenic bacteria and thermal pollution, as well. Reductions in pollutant load result from the combination of concentration reduction and runoff volume attenuation, linking water quality and hydrologic performance. Nonetheless, many design questions persist for this practice, such as maximum pooling bowl depth, minimum fill media depth, fill media composition and configuration, underdrain configuration, pretreatment options, and vegetation selection. Moreover, the exact nature and impact of bioretention maintenance is still evolving, which will dictate long-term performance and life-cycle costs. Bioretention usage will grow as design guidance matures as a result of continued research and application.

Main Author: Davis, Allen P.
Other Authors: Hunt, William F., Traver, Robert G., Clar, Michael.
Format: Villanova Faculty Authorship
Language: English
Published: 2009
Online Access: