Stormwater study will aid management

US engineering consultants Black & Veatch (B&V) have completed a three-year study of Best Management Practices (BMPs) and Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) that will enhance mutual understanding of stormwater quality management technologies and issues in the US and UK. Changes in land use associated with urbanisation can alter the volume and quality of stormwater runoff.

BMPs and SUDS are measures used in the US and the UK, respectively, to reduce adverse impacts to receiving waters. The study, collectively funded by the Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF), United Kingdom Water Industry Research (UKWIR) and the Awwa Research Foundation (AwwaRF), was launched to obtain more detailed information associated with selected BMPs and SUDS.

WERF research programme director, Jeff Moeller, said, “The study demonstrates how experts from both countries effectively collaborated to deliver a report that advances our practical knowledge of stormwater management techniques and costs.”

The UK research team included HR Wallingford and the Urban Water Technology Centre at the University of Abertay in Dundee. The US team included the Center for Research in Water Resources of the University of Texas in Austin and Glenrose Engineering.

“The collective expertise and efforts have produced a report that will yield international benefits,” said B&V project director Les Lampe.

Participants conducted an extensive review of the scientific literature and a survey of existing information on BMPs and SUDS, then performed in-depth assessment of the performance, maintenance requirements and whole-life costs of selected BMPs/SUDS. Evaluation focused on retention ponds, extended detention basins, vegetated swales, bioretention systems, porous pavement and infiltration facilities.

The study also resulted in the development of a whole-life cost model that demonstrates that the level of maintenance had a pronounced effect on whole-life costs for most facilities. Also, in many jurisdictions, vegetation management dominated the maintenance activities rather than sediment, debris and trash removal, or structural repair.

The report, Performance and Whole Life Costs of Best Management Practices and Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems, is now available from the Water Environment Research Foundation at

“The research results will be of great value to all of our stormwater agencies, particularly in determining the whole-life costs of stormwater management facilities,” said UKWIR director Michael Farrimond.

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