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Spacing drainage pipes to reduce groundwater mounding

The yellow box represents the recommended hydraulic conductivityA parameter that describes the capability of a medium to transmit water. of bioretentionA shallow excavated surface depression containing prepared filter media, mulch, and planted with selected vegetation. filter mediaThe engineered soil component of bioretention cell or dry swale designs, typically with a high rate of infiltration and designed to retain contaminants through filtration and adsorption to particles.

In most LIDLow Impact Development. A stormwater management strategy that seeks to mitigate the impacts of increased urban runoff and stormwater pollution by managing it as close to its source as possible. It comprises a set of site design approaches and small scale stormwater management practices that promote the use of natural systems for infiltration and evapotranspiration, and rainwater harvesting. underdrainA perforated pipe used to assist the draining of soils. applications, lateral drains should be spaced between 5 - 6 m apart.

This recommendation is supported by an analysis of Hooghoudt's equation [1][2][3] in relation to loamy or clayey native soils, where Kmedia>>Ksoil, finds the first term of the numerator negligible, so that the original equation\[Drain\ spacing=\sqrt{\frac{8K_{soil}H\left(D_{i}-D_{d}\right)\left(D_{d}-D_{w}\right)+4K_{soil}\left(D_{d}-D_{w}\right)^{2}}{q}}\] may be simplified to\[Drain\ spacing=\sqrt{\frac{4K_{media}\left(D_{d}-D_{w}\right)^{2}}{q}}\]


  • Kmedia is expressed in m/day
  • Dd is the depth to the drain pipe (m)
  • Dw is the minimum acceptable depth to the water tableThe upper surface of the zone of saturation, except where the surface is formed by an impermeable body.Subsurface water level which is defined by the level below which all the spaces in the soil are filled with water; The entire region below the water table is called the saturated zone. during infiltration event
  • q is the inflow volume expressed as a depth over the entire surface (m)
  1. H.P.Ritzema, 1994, Subsurface flow to drains. Chapter 8 in: H.P.Ritzema (ed.), Drainage Principles and Applications, Publ. 16, pp. 236-304, International Institute for Land Reclamation and Improvement (ILRI), Wageningen, The Netherlands. ISBN 90-70754-33-9
  2. W.H. van der Molen en J.Wesseling, 1991. A solution in closed form and a series solution to replace the tables for the thickness of the equivalent layer in Hooghoudt's drain spacing equation. Agricultural Water Management 19, pp.1-16
  3. van Beers, W.F.J. 1976, COMPUTING DRAIN SPACINGS: A generalized method with special reference to sensitivity analysis and geo-hydrological investigations, International Institute for Land Reclamation and Improvement (ILRI) Wageningen, The Netherlands