Field testing of a low-cost retrofit filter berm to treat stormwater runoff contaminants.
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Field testing of a low-cost retrofit filter berm to treat stormwater runoff contaminants.

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    • Abstract:
      The goal of this cooperative effort between MaineDOT and the University of New Hampshire was to test a low-cost

      retrofit filter berm that would reduce non-point pollution from highway runoff. The retrofit berm would be easy to

      construct using readily available materials and construction equipment and would be designed to treat and remove

      certain constituents of the incoming stormwater runoff.

      The UNH Stormwater Research Center field research facility was ideally suited for this trial project. The center is

      located on the Durham, NH campus, and consists of an experimental facility that includes an upstream watershed

      area of approximately nine acres of student parking lot area.

      On this project an “engineered filter berm” was constructed and tested during several storm events. The research

      showed that this particular design did not perform as expected. The primary weaknesses of the design are high

      maintenance associated with clogging by leaf litter. Conclusions from the research are that the filter berm has some

      potential for a low cost retrofit in areas where leaf litter is not anticipated.

      Data collection for the project was cut short, however, due a 100 year storm event that caused the structure to fail.

      During the failure, the 8 inch stone outer casing was washed away. This allowed the core material, crushed stone

      and wood chips, to rapidly erode. The structural failure from overtopping by hydraulic overload could be addressed

      by using larger stone or by encasing the stone armor in wire wraps such as gabions

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