Identifying Key Factors for the Implementation and Maintenance of Green Stormwater Infrastructure

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Virginia Tech

Construction and maintenance can have huge implications on the long-term functioning of GSI facilities. GSI facilities investigated were bioretention, permeable pavement, sand filters, infiltration trenches, and vegetated swales. This study first highlights the most important construction and maintenance items based on relevant studies and state stormwater manuals. Fairfax County, VA was used as a case study to evaluate the County's current stormwater program and illuminate common maintenance issues found for each GSI type. Data analysis of 3141 inspection records illustrated particular deficiencies for each GSI type and that there are differences between public and private facilities, most likely depending on site conditions and frequency of routine maintenance. Sediment accumulation was found to be the most common maintenance issue (27.8% of inspections), supporting the importance of adequate pretreatment and good housekeeping when implementing GSI. The Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District (NVSWCD) performed a study surveying 63 public bioretention facilities in which they measured ponding depth, filter media depth, ponding area, and infiltration rates. The NVSWCD concluded that deficiencies found in facilities could mostly be attributed to inadequacies during construction. By comparing current post-construction inspections performed by the County to the NVSWCD data, it was found that these County inspections are failing to detect these inadequacies in bioretention facilities from improper construction. It is recommended that MS4s thoroughly record and track construction and post-construction inspection items to improve the longevity of its facilities and better inform future decision making regarding GSI.

green stormwater infrastructure, stormwater, construction, maintenance, inspection, best management practice