Permanent Runoff Controls

by Michael E Barrett, (M.ASCE), Assoc. Dir.; Center for Res. in Water Resources, Univ. of Texas, Austin, TX,
Peter Smith, (M.ASCE), Dir. of Hydrau. Design; Parsons Brinckerhoff,
Joseph F. Malina, Jr., (F.ASCE), Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Univ. of Texas, Austin, TX,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1997, Vol. 67, Issue 10, Pg. 72-73

Document Type: Feature article


The Center for Research in Water Resources at the University of Texas, Austin, Texas, conducted tests showing that grassy swales can remove pollutants from highway runoff. Many pollutants are found in stormwater funoff, and dealing with this non-point source can be difficult and costly. Researchers looked a several promising systems to with the solution to the problem, checking costs and efficiency. Vertical sand filters, an extended detention pond, and conventional sand filters were tested. Field demonstrations showed that grassy swales worked best and promised to be the least costly to maintain. Comparisons were made between runoff before and after the water passed through the swales. Grassy swales placed in the median of highways performed well. The University researchers then tested a second swale with different design characteristics, and will continue to monitor its performance. Runoff was checked as the storm drain system under the grass median, and directly from the pavement.

Subject Headings: Sand filters | Runoff | Water resources | Colleges and universities | Pollutants | Highways and roads | Sandy soils | Drainage systems | Texas | United States

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