Does it age like a fine wine or are we having a midlife crisis?: Evaluating older bioretention system performance and soil evolution

Thursday August 1, 2024, 10am - Noon

In-person at St. Anthony Falls Lab (SAFL) & Virtual on Zoom


Bioretention is among the most frequently implemented green stormwater infrastructure practices. Beyond basic maintenance checks, however, little monitoring is done, despite functioning to clean stormwater for years. This seminar will focus on a field research study aimed at understanding pollutant accumulation and soil development in older bioretention cells. We visited 29 bioretention facilities in Ohio, Michigan, and Kentucky and sampled soils in the forebay (if present), and near the inlet, middle, and outlet of each bioretention cell. Further, three soil depths (0-2, 4-6, and 14-20 inches) were sampled to understand how pollutants accumulate spatially and with depth, with the ultimate goal of informing maintenance. The outcomes of this study include an understanding of phosphorus, metals, microplastics, PAHs, PCBs, alkylphenols, phthalates, and PFAS accumulation in older bioretention media. Further, we evaluate hydraulic function of the media using quick infiltration tests and relate the hydraulics to soil physical properties, including the development of an organic horizon on top of the filter media. Practical recommendations will be provided from the study including when and where to maintain field-scale bioretention systems.

Event Speaker
photo of ryan

Ryan Winston is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Food, Agricultural, and
Biological Engineering and Civil, Environmental, and Geodetic Engineering and a Core Faculty of the Sustainability Institute at Ohio State University. Ryan’s research spans applied, field-based research, laboratory, and modeling to unravel the complexities of stormwater management. Our applied research on stormwater control measures aims to understand the cost, benefits, and ecosystem services at the practice, site, and small watershed scale. Ryan has led more than 50 projects focused on urban/suburban stormwater monitoring and subsequent development and calibration of models based on these data. Ryan has particular interest in applying lessons learned in field-based research projects to inform design and maintenance of stormwater controls.