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Greening the Streets: A Comparison of Sustainable Stormwater Management in Portland, Oregon and Los Angeles, California

Stormwater runoff is one of the main sources of pollution for urban waterways. Stormwater has traditionally been managed through concrete-based storm drainage systems, but the past twenty years have introduced an alternative in the form of green infrastructure. Green infrastructure for stormwater management involves the use of low impact development (LID), often vegetated facilities to mimic natural hydrologic systems that capture and allow infiltration of rainwater where it falls and from impervious surfaces upstream, before entering the drainage system. Portland, Oregon and Los Angeles, California have adopted green infrastructure into their stormwater management plans. For this project, bioswales, a form of vegetated LID facility, were tested in each city to determine their pollutant retention capabilities. Results from Portland show that bioswales filter out heavy metals effectively, and results from Los Angeles show that bioswales accumulate heavy metals in the soil over the course of the year (also due to filtering out metals from the stormwater). These results raise the question of whether accumulation can reach dangerous levels or saturate the soil with pollutants so that removal efficiency is diminished, indicating a need for further monitoring. However, the success of bioswales up to this point is encouraging and indicates that this method should continue to be employed.
Date01 May 2013
CreatorsSchweitzer, Na'ama
PublisherScholarship @ Claremont
Source SetsClaremont Colleges
Detected LanguageEnglish
SourcePomona Senior Theses
Rights© 2012 Na'ama Schweitzer

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