Service Communautaire d'Information sur la Recherche et le Développement - CORDIS

Literature review identifying the appropriateness of urban storm water Best Management Practices in Europe

This report represents a comprehensive review of the current state of knowledge on the use and performance of BMPs for stormwater treatment and control within Europe. It has been prepared through contributions provided by several partners in the DayWater project based on both their extensive knowledge and specific expertise of stormwater BMPs. An emphasis has been placed on the design, operation, maintenance and costing of stormwater BMPs, with particular regard to country specific factors. The accepted use of these systems varies with a wide range of structural and non- structural BMPs being employed in northern and temperate European countries for stormwater control, whereas their applicability is less well developed in southern European countries such as Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal. An exception to this is street cleaning, which appears to be a common practice throughout Europe. There also appear to be patterns or trends in the types of BMPs preferred within various countries, with for example, rainwater harvesting being a popular stormwater BMP in France and Germany, but practised to a lesser extent in other European countries.

A variety of methods are available to assist the design of structural BMPs based on parameters or criteria which are relevant to the treatment process. Examples which have commonly been employed include particle settling characteristics, capture of the first 10-15mm of effective runoff, residence time, return period, infiltration capability and pollutant removal capability. These overall approaches are available through the publication of a range of design manuals, guidelines and recommendations, with a wide selection of computer models routinely being used to enable system performance to be evaluated under a variety of conditions.

Operation and maintenance (O&M) is a major concern when the use of stormwater BMPs is being considered. Although it is often stated that O&M requirements must be included in the initial design and costing process, this is not always the case in practice and the issue of O&M guidelines for the adoption of stormwater BMPs by an appropriate body is often problematic.

The use of stormwater BMPs is generally accepted to result in reductions in treatment costs compared to conventional systems with savings ranging from 18-50% having been reported for a range of BMPs. However, the initial capital costs can be elevated such as in the case of road infrastructure BMPs where more expensive surfacing materials may be used. Costs can also vary considerably between sites depending upon local conditions, including engineering constraints (which will normally increase costs) and land constraints (which may lead to decreased costs but also a reduction in performance).

Different types of structural BMPs are evaluated against a range of factors which have been identified in terms of their influence on the selection and use of these systems. The data presented on BMP performances demonstrates that they can effectively manage both the quantity and quality of stormwater in northern and temperate European countries. Where poor or variable removal performances have been reported, a range of reasons have been cited such as the re-entrainment of solids during high flows, short circuiting and low detention times. Key problems are identified in the way performance data are determined and calculated and represent an important area for consideration in future discussions of BMP performances.

This report provides a comprehensive review of the design, operation and performance of BMPs across Europe. It provides stakeholders and end-users with detailed information on the ability of BMPs to treat and control stormwater, whilst also discussing issues that have been a cause of concern (e.g. the adoption of O&M requirements) and highlighting areas for further research (e.g. development of quantifiable sustainability criteria). It can therefore be used as a balanced source of information on the current use of stormwater.

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Reported by

Middlesex University
Queensway, Enfield, Middlesex
United Kingdom
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