Performance of Stormwater Ponds and Wetland Systems

by Thomas R. Schueler,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Engineering Hydrology


The use of stormwater pond and wetland systems to improve the quality of urban stormwater runoff has become an increasingly important strategy to protect streams in developing areas. This paper reviews 58 performance monitoring studies that examined the capability of these systems to remove urban pollutants. Although the studies did not permit extensive statistical evaluation, they did suggest that treatment volume alone was not an accurate predictor of pollutant removal capability. Certain groups of stormwater ponds and wetlands, however, did appear to outperform other groups. In addition, the study suggests that several design variables are critical in achieving reliable pollutant removal - runoff pretreatment, long flow paths, redundant treatment mechanisms and basin geometry. The maximum upper limit of pollutant removal was different depending on the pollutant, (sediment> particulate trace metals> total phosphorus> total nitrogen). The paper concludes with some general recommendations for future research on the dynamics of pond and wetland systems.

Subject Headings: Stormwater management | Retention basins | Wetlands (fresh water) | Water pollution | Water quality | Runoff | Rivers and streams | Urban areas

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