Urban bioswale characterization and design evaluation

Jack Anderson

Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona

As bioswales become increasingly prevalent in urban settings there is increasing demand to measure their hydrologic and soil properties for large scale modeling and estimation of runoff sequestration. Many studies have been conducted to determine the effectiveness of these bioswales at filtering and trapping pollutants and large particles, but these experiments have been applied to a limited number of basins with little spatial or temporal distribution. By looking at a wide variety of bioswales, with considerable differences in age and location, a classification scheme for semi-arid bioswales can be developed to enable future research efforts to bypass the time-consuming process of sample collection and analysis. After analyzing a variety of geophysical and hydraulic properties, a method for estimating key parameters (such as infiltration rate) has proven to be effective and is a tool that could give urban planners a better idea of what bioswale designs will best match their runoff sequestration and neighborhood aesthetic needs.

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