Assessing the effectiveness of water sensitive urban design in Southeast Queensland

Parker, Nathaniel Ryan (2010) Assessing the effectiveness of water sensitive urban design in Southeast Queensland. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

Abstract

Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) systems have the potential mitigate the hydrologic disturbance and water quality concerns associated with stormwater runoff from urban development. In the last few years WSUD has been strongly promoted in South East Queensland (SEQ) and new developments are now required to use WSUD systems to manage stormwater runoff. However, there has been limited field evaluation of WSUD systems in SEQ and consequently knowledge of their effectiveness in the field, under storm events, is limited. The objective of this research project was to assess the effectiveness of WSUD systems installed in a residential development, under real storm events. To achieve this objective, a constructed wetland, bioretention swale and a bioretention basin were evaluated for their ability to improve the hydrologic and water quality characteristics of stormwater runoff from urban development. The monitoring focused on storm events, with sophisticated event monitoring stations measuring the inflow and outflow from WSUD systems. Data analysis undertaken confirmed that the constructed wetland, bioretention basin and bioretention swale improved the hydrologic characteristics by reducing peak flow. The bioretention systems, particularly the bioretention basin also reduced the runoff volume and frequency of flow, meeting key objectives of current urban stormwater management. The pollutant loads were reduced by the WSUD systems to above or just below the regional guidelines, showing significant reductions to TSS (70-85%), TN (40-50%) and TP (50%). The load reduction of NOx and PO4 3- by the bioretention basin was poor (<20%), whilst the constructed wetland effectively reduced the load of these pollutants in the outflow by approximately 90%. The primary reason for the load reduction in the wetland was due to a reduction in concentration in the outflow, showing efficient treatment of stormwater by the system. In contrast, the concentration of key pollutants exiting the bioretention basin were higher than the inflow. However, as the volume of stormwater exiting the bioretention basin was significantly lower than the inflow, a load reduction was still achieved. Calibrated MUSIC modelling showed that the bioretention basin, and in particular, the constructed wetland were undersized, with 34% and 62% of stormwater bypassing the treatment zones in the devices. Over the long term, a large proportion of runoff would not receive treatment, considerably reducing the effectiveness of the WSUD systems.

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ID Code: 34119
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Goonetilleke, Sobana, Egodawatta, Prasanna, & Gardner, Edward
Keywords: Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD), Low Impact Design (LID), urban water quality, stormwater quality treatment, bioretention basins, bioretention swales, constructed wetlands
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 13 Aug 2010 05:28
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:57

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