Since the University of Maryland, College Park is within the Chesapeake Bay watershed, all of the stormwater runoff from the campus eventually makes it into the Bay. Over 17 million people live within the Chesapeake Bay watershed, contributing to pollution and increasing development of impervious surfaces. Therefore, measures to reduce the negative effects of impervious surfaces should be taken to improve the wellness of the local bodies of water and to improve the Bay’s health.
Low Impact Development projects, such as bioretentions, bioswales, and various types of rain gardens have been researched and proven to remove pollutants from runoff through multiple engineered components that allow for infiltration, storage, and treatment of a definitive runoff volume. Vegetated swales are important in providing an environmentally responsible stormwater management system for controlling flood volumes. Implementing a swale is an effective yet inexpensive ways to address flooding, stormwater, and provide solutions to runoff pollution while serving as a tool for education for the campus community.
The Local Project Team retrofitted an existing stormwater management system on Wellness Way from a concrete channel to a vegetated swale facility. The redesign addresses problems in runoff pollution, temporary storage, runoff velocity, and stormwater treatment.
The facility’s purpose is to reduce runoff speed and allow for groundwater recharge and treatment before the stormwater drains into Campus Creek.
The primary goal of this project is to allow for the treatment of stormwater without sacrificing the existing facility’s purpose of removing high volumes of water during large rainstorms. The site is located along Wellness Way, with the stormwater drainage network flowing directly into Campus Creek. The facility’s close proximity to Campus Creek raises the urgency and need for the treatment of stormwater. Since the creek’s watershed consists of mostly impervious surfaces and compacted soil, which causes water to flow at faster velocities and carrying runoff pollution.