Transient Rainfall-Runoff Loadings to a Partial Exfiltration System: Implications for Urban Water Quantity and Quality

Modification of rainfall-runoff processes by urban infrastructure and anthropogenic activities impacts receiving waters and the surrounding terrestrial environment. Infiltration-exfiltration systems such as a partial exfiltration reactor (PER) when loaded by transient sheet flow have the potential to attenuate the impact of both the quantity and quality of urban runoff. These in situ systems are subject to highly variable water quality and quantity while functioning under variably saturated flow conditions. To improve the understanding of field-scale PER performance as a rainfall-runoff unit operation and process, a two-dimensional (2D) numerical model was used to simulate the effluent hydrograph and water content profiles under transient hydraulic loadings. Richard's equation was applied in the 2D model using parameters estimated from laboratory experiments and hydrographs measured for an in situ PER. The temporal dynamics of the water content illustrated the ability of the PER to lower peak flow, redistribute volume, and attenuate temporal aspects of the inflow hydrograph. Results demonstrated the role of the PER to attenuate runoff water quantity, while also providing water quality improvements, as illustrated for suspended solids and dissolved Cu. Simulation of historical events for different surrounding soils illustrated the critical role of surrounding soil conditions on PER performance. While the PER demonstrated water quantity attenuation benefits for design storms (1, 2, 5 year return periods), results also illustrate how a given PER design for clayey soils conditions can be limiting for intense events. Evaporation was a dominant mechanism for the drying process in the PER upper layer; with a residual moisture content in the porous pavement layer achieved in less than 2 days in summer for Cincinnati, Ohio.

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  • Authors:
    • Sansalone, John J
    • Teng, Zheng
  • Publication Date: 2005-8


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01002832
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 1 2005 10:31PM