Above Par Storm-Water Management

by Kevin D. White, Asst. Prof.; Dept. of Civ. Engrg., Univ. of South Alabama, Mobile, AL,
Amy L. Meyers, Undergraduate Research Assistant; Dept. of Civ. Engrg., University of South Alabama, Mobile AL,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1997, Vol. 67, Issue 7, Pg. 50-51

Document Type: Feature article


Storm water treatment wetlands like the one on a golf course adjacent to Alabama's Mobile Bay are only marginally more expensive to construct than wet ponds, but offer distinct advantages in function, habitat and aesthetics. And maybe best of all, they are simple. Stormwater treatment wetlands are small, constructed ecosystems designed to enhance storm water quality that has suffered as a result of urbanization and development. These natural systems can be aesthetically integrated into a variety of developments as part of the functioning drainage and landscaping. Typically, storm water control basins are designed only for detention (to minimize downstream flooding) and are located away from active use areas. These detention pods are often relegated to the status of a back lot function. By integrating aesthetic features and minor design modifications, storm water runoff basins can be designed to treat storm water as well. Compressed golf courses in particular demand innovative storm water management. As part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Gulf of Mexico Program, a storm water treatment wetland was designed and constructed on a public golf course adjacent to south Alabama's Mobile Bay in January 1996. Specific objectives of this project were to 1) minimize pesticide, nutrient, and suspended sediment loadings into coastal waters of the Gulf of Mexico, 2) demonstrate the technical, functional and aesthetic viability of wetland systems for controlling nonpoint source water pollution in urban and recreational developments and 3) educate the general public about new and innovative technologies for protecting water resources.

Subject Headings: Water pollution | Water-based recreation | Water resources | Wetlands (coastal) | Aesthetics | Aquatic habitats | Retention basins | Stormwater management | Gulf of Mexico

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