When introducing FocalPoint HPMBS to engineers, landscape architects, public agencies and contractors, we sometimes get asked if the mulch layer is really necessary. Some people want to replace it with various sizes and types of rocks while others contemplate eliminating the top layer altogether. We continue to stress the importance of the mulch as an important part of any bioretention system. Recently we inspected a FocalPoint that was installed last fall and found that the mulch layer worked exactly as designed (see pictures below). Although the area immediately surrounding this FocalPoint was stabilized before commissioning the system, there was still a tremendous amount of sediment carried into this basin during the spring months. During our site visit we discovered an area on the site that had been disturbed as part of an unrelated landscape project and not been properly protected. Silt and undesirable mulch from that site was washed into the storm sewer and deposited into this FocalPoint basin. Here are three lessons learned from this inspection:Read More
HPMBS delivers the water quality benefits of bioretention while significantly reducing or eliminating the major obstacles to its use in roadways. Most important, construction costs and long term maintenance costs are a small fraction of what they would be with traditional bioretention. If you’re curious about how that might work, take a look at the article, written by David Batts from our Houston-based VAR, Construction EcoServices.
Making the Case for High Flow Biofiltration Systems
We all know the history of Low Impact Development (LID). Developed in Prince George's County, Maryland in the early '90s, adopted throughout the Chesapeake Bay, gradually adopted in the Northwest and the Great Lakes and now picking up steam and moving coast to coast; it's an important part of the upcoming post construction rulemaking and TMDL responses; and its rightfully recognized as a key piece to solving our water quality, volume and velocity woes and to meeting our sustainable development goals.
[A tip of the hat to retired legendary Dallas Time Herald sports reporter Blackie Sherrod who introduced the idea of scattershooting, i.e., bouncing through a variety of topics in a single column, often producing interesting tidbits and food for thought.]
Two weeks ago, I had the privilege of participating in a landmark event held in Annapolis, Maryland. It was a two-day Roundtable discussion related to how Low Impact Development (LID) and Green Infrastructure (GI) can be utilized more effectively to lower costs, improve performance and ultimately provide the basis for a more rapid and reliable solution to the challenges of meeting Chesapeake Bay urban retrofit TMDL goals.
Innovate or Die (part 3). Although innovative stormwater quality product offerings which deliver higher performance and reduce costs of compliance are desperately needed in public infrastructure and private development, they are few and far between. As we said a couple of weeks ago, the reasons why are numerous; let’s take a look at another one.
Industry Guest Blogger, Seth Brown, Joins The Innovation Conversation The Water Environment Federation (WEF) has recently launched a new strategic direction,with innovation being a major focus under this new vision. While the term “innovation” is used these days as liberally as “sustainability” was used a few years ago, WEF intends to put meat on the bones of our new innovation initiative by supporting approaches in the water sector that challenge the status quo and breakdown barriers that impede the creative thinking needed to address the water stresses our country, and the world, face now, and to a greater degree, will face in the future.
This is the underlying theme in the technology industry. It’s a mantra with a sense of urgency and primal struggle that drives innovation which has fundamentally changed the world many times in the last thirty years. It’s an ‘in your face’ challenge that’s led to the solution of problems previously thought to be unsolvable, some relatively insignificant, and others so massive and complex that they’re hard for mere mortals to fathom.
The short and long term performance of engineered media specified for use in biofiltration systems is something that must be taken into account when utilizing bioretention as the primary solution for stormwater management and stormwater quality. Many times only the short term infiltration rates of a biofiltration media are considered as instead of what actually takes place over time. Another common mistake is to assume that results attained with one batch of the biofiltration media will be the same results with the next batch using identical specifications. Although biofiltration medias are “man-made” they are still a natural system that are always evolving. Plant type, the biological health of the system, the weather patterns for a given time period, and many other variables create this discrepancy among the different batches of biofiltration media.