Benefits of Biofiltration Highlighted through Award-winning Green Street Pilot Project

Though built to provide local environmental benefits and educational opportunities, the City of Albany’s Brighton Avenue Pilot Green Street Project raised awareness of the benefits of biofiltration among a broader audience at the American Public Works Association’s (APWA) 2018 awards night. The project implemented low-impact development (LID) green infrastructure to capture, retain, and treat stormwater runoff, was recognized with the Public Works Project Award for Small Cities/Rural Communities – Environment.

The project uses a rain garden located at Albany Middle School to assist with the prevention and removal of trash and pollutants in Cerrito Creek, ultimately leading to improved water quality and protection of aquatic life and habitat. By providing educational signage and a hands-on model at the school, this project will continue to educate students and the public about the importance of stormwater management as it provides long-term benefits to the environment.

The rain garden provides stormwater treatment by capturing the runoff and allowing it to filter through biofiltration soil and plant roots prior to entering an underdrain pipe that conveys flows to the existing storm drain system, which eventually outfalls to Cerrito Creek. The rain garden filters stormwater runoff, slows peak-flow rates, and reduces peak volumes, protecting receiving water bodies from the effects of urbanization.

Rain gardens have been proven to be effective in the removal of pollutants from the "first flush" storm events. "First flush" events are the first storm events of the season that mobilize pollutants accumulated on the roadway during the dry season. In addition, runoff from small storm events is captured by the bioretention area, and the runoff infiltrates through the soil and into groundwater with little or no discharge into the downstream storm drain system.

WRECO was proud to assist the City on this project from start to finish, including assisting with the Proposition 84 Stormwater Grant Program applications to obtain project funding (including preparing site renderings, preliminary designs and cost estimates, and developing project schedules); preparing the feasibility plan, Drainage Report, Geotechnical Investigation Memorandum, and design plans, specifications, and estimate; assisting the City with a community consensus and public outreach efforts; and finally preparing the maintenance and monitoring manual for the project.

Learn more WRECO’s other green infrastructure and LID pilot projects here.

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