Review and Research Needs of Bioretention Used for the Treatment of Urban Stormwater

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The continued development of urban areas in recent decades has caused multiple issues affecting the sustainability of urban drainage systems. The increase of impervious surface areas in urban regions alters watershed hydrology and water quality. Typical impacts to downstream hydrologic regimes include higher peak flows and runoff volumes, shorter lag times, and reduced infiltration and base flow. Urban runoff increases the transport of pollutants and nutrients and thus degrades water bodies downstream from urban areas. One of the most frequently used practices to mitigate these impacts is bioretention. Despite its widespread use, research on bioretention systems remains active, particularly in terms of mix design and nitrogen treatment. Recent research focusing on bioretention is reviewed herein. The use of mesocosms provides the ability to isolate particular treatment processes and replicate variability. Computational models have been adapted and applied to simulate bioretention, offering potential improvements to their operation, maintenance, and design. Maintenance practices are important for sustained operation and have also been reviewed. Predicting maintenance is essential to assessing lifecycle costs. Within these research areas, gaps are explored, and recommendations made for future work.



bioretention, urban stormwater, low impact development, field study, mesocosm simulation, computational modeling


Liu, J.; Sample, D.J.; Bell, C.; Guan, Y. Review and Research Needs of Bioretention Used for the Treatment of Urban Stormwater. Water 2014, 6, 1069-1099.