Prospects for Wetlands Use in Stormwater Management

by Erik C. Stockdale, King County Resource Planning, Section, Seattle, WA, USA,
Richard R. Horner, King County Resource Planning, Section, Seattle, WA, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '87


It is well established that wetlands under certain circumstances improve water quality. There is a limited literature on the long-term effects of using freshwater wetlands for stormwater storage and nonpoint pollution control. Much of this literature pertains to the use of wetlands for sewage effluent treatment. Some work has been done utilizing natural or artificial wetlands for flood control and/or water quality management. Water quality improvements from these studies show promise, but their direct application to the Pacific Northwest is limited. Some researchers believe the characteristics of wastewater and urban runoff are similar enough that some findings in the wastewater literature may be analogous to stormwater systems. These findings can be confirmed by careful studies in the Northwest to help fill the gaps in present knowledge. This paper summarizes wetlands water quality improvement principles from the literature, and areas of greatest uncertainty regarding the use of wetlands for urban stormwater management.

Subject Headings: Stormwater management | Wetlands (fresh water) | Municipal water | Water quality | Water pollution | Nonpoint pollution | Municipal wastewater | Urban areas | Pacific Northwest | United States

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