Practical Findings from Supplier Surveys, Material Testing, and Column Studies to Improve Biofiltration Media Specifications

Date / Time:
Wednesday, Oct 17 8:35am to 9:05am
Meeting Room 7-8 (Upper Level)
Track / Session:
Making Stormwater BMPs Work Track / Media Science

Biofiltration (aka bioretention with underdrains) has emerged as a preferred stormwater treatment option in California and has been demonstrated to meet many stormwater management goals. However, substantial questions remain about biofiltration media specifications for specific pollutants and site conditions. Additionally, field scale monitoring studies have indicated the potential for export of pollutants from biofiltration. Finally, the cost and quality of materials can vary regionally, which is of specific importance in updates of standard biofiltration specifications that will go into widespread use.

Recent efforts to improve biofiltration soil specifications in California have included material surveys from regional suppliers, testing of media components, column studies of individual components and combinations, and full-scale design and monitoring projects. Information from these studies, as well as review of past studies in the International Stormwater BMP Database, has provided the basis for updated specifications and/or alternative specifications to achieve higher and more consistent performance for specific pollutants while reducing risks of pollutant export. Through regional supplier surveys, the ability for contractors to supply materials meeting enhanced specifications is inherently vetted. This presentation will provide a summary of recent and ongoing efforts, including the practical findings that can be transferred to municipalities and project proponents in California.

Project examples will be presented including:
(1) Recent media supplier availability and cost surveys and media component testing conducted in the San Diego and Los Angeles Region for municipal and private clients
(2) Updates to standard biofiltration media specifications developed as part of three Southern California BMP Design Manuals
(3) A column study for a private land development project to develop and support an alternative biofiltration media specification

This presentation will summarize recent research findings and lessons learned about putting these findings into practice. The intended audience includes municipal stormwater managers and BMP designers. Notably, these efforts show that improvements can be gained without major increases in media costs or reliance on uncommon materials.

Primary Speaker:
Aaron Poresky, Geosyntec Consultants
Aaron Poresky is Principal with Geosyntec Consultants. He has 13 years of experience in stormwater management, including complex and high-profile projects for clients in the public, private, and research sector. Mr. Poresky has supported several California municipalities and land developers with development of biofiltration soil specifications.