Infiltration chambers

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Overview

As their name suggests infiltration chambers work exclusively to infiltrate stormwaterSurface runoff from at-grade surfaces, resulting from rain or snowmelt events.. They are an underground facility and are often used beneath parking lots or playing fields to treat flow routed from other areas.

Infiltration chambers are an ideal technology for:

  • Installing below any type of surface or landscape
  • Receiving and infiltrating large volumes of water

The fundamental components of an infiltration chamber system are:

  • Pretreatment devices to retain trash, debris, sedimentSoil, sand and minerals washed from land into water, usually after rain. They pile up in reservoirs, rivers and harbors, destroying fish-nesting areas and holes of water animals and cloud the water so that needed sunlight might not reach aquatic plans. Careless farming, mining and building activities will expose sediment materials, allowing them to be washed off the land after rainfalls. and floatables and prevent clogging of inlets, underlying native soilThe natural ground material characteristic of or existing by virtue of geographic origin. and outlets;
  • Storage reservoirAn underlying bed filled with aggregate or other void-forming fill material that temporarily stores stormwater before infiltrating into the native soil or being conveyed by an underdrain pipe. consisting of structurally reinforced chambers, vaults, crates, perforated pipes or other void-forming structures embedded in coarse aggregate;
  • Pipes and possibly flow control structures to convey water into and out of the practice; and
  • Geotextiles to maintain separation between the storage reservoirAn underlying bed filled with aggregate or other void-forming fill material that temporarily stores stormwater before infiltrating into the native soil or being conveyed by an underdrain pipe. and surrounding native soilThe natural ground material characteristic of or existing by virtue of geographic origin..
System type Perforated pipes Vaults Arched chambers Crates
SWM Pipe.jpg SWM Vaults.jpg SWM Arches.jpg SWM Crates.jpg
Materials Plastic or Metal Concrete Plastic Plastic
Footprint Medium Small Medium Small
Stackable Yes No Yes Yes
Effective PorosityThe porosity (n) of a mixture is the ratio of the volume of void-space to the total or bulk volume of the mixture. It is closely related to the concept of void ratio (e) where void ratio is the ratio of the volume of void-space to the volume of solids. n = Volume of voids/Total volume of mixture = e/(1+e) (n') 0.60 - 0.65 0.75 - 0.85 0.50 - 0.65 0.95
Maintenance Access Moderate Excellent Moderate Difficult
Standard Strength H-20 H-25 H-20 H-20 - H-25

Planning Considerations

All types of modular infiltration systems require a bedding of angular clear stone to permit infiltrationThe slow movement of water into or through a soil or drainage system.Penetration of water through the ground surface., and provide a foundation for the installation:

  • Plastic chambers usually have a parabolic shape to support the load above. The spaces between rows of plastic pipes or chambers are filled with clear stone to support overlying structures.
  • Concrete vaults and plastic crates are often rectangular-shaped. Concrete vault systems can, in some circumstances, be employed without any additional cover. However, a minimum of 20 cm cover is recommended for most applications. Where this cover is planting soil this can support turf grass. Greater planting soil depths are required to support more deeply rooting plants like perennials and shrubs (45 to 60 cm) and trees (85 to 100 cm).

Design

Sizing

Infiltration: Sizing and modeling

Modeling

Materials

Chambers

Plastic chambers

Chambers should be compliant with:

Allowable loads for the chambers must be determined in accordance with ASTM F2787-13 “Standard Practice for Structural Design of Thermoplastic Corrugated Wall Stormwater Collection Chambers”.

Concrete vaults

Concrete vault-type systems should be compliant with:

AggregatesA broad category of particulate material used in construction, including sand, gravel, crushed stone, slag, recycled concrete and geosynthetic aggregates, and available in various particulate size gradations.

Note the uniform size and angularity of this clear stone sample. Note also that the fragments all appear to have a film of fine particles adhering; this material would be improved by being washed prior to use.

This article gives recommendations for aggregateA broad category of particulate material used in construction, including sand, gravel, crushed stone, slag, recycled concrete and geosynthetic aggregates, and available in various particulate size gradations. to be used to store water for infiltrationThe slow movement of water into or through a soil or drainage system.Penetration of water through the ground surface.. This is usually called 'clear stone' at aggregateA broad category of particulate material used in construction, including sand, gravel, crushed stone, slag, recycled concrete and geosynthetic aggregates, and available in various particulate size gradations. yards.

To see an analysis of Ontario Standard Specifications for granularGravel, or crushed stone of various size gradations (i.e., diameter), used in construction; void forming material used as bedding and runoff storage reservoirs and underdrains in stormwater infiltration practices. materials, see OPSS aggregates.

For advice on decorative surface aggregatesA broad category of particulate material used in construction, including sand, gravel, crushed stone, slag, recycled concrete and geosynthetic aggregates, and available in various particulate size gradations. see Stone


Gravel used for underdrains in bioretention, infiltration trenches and chambers, and exfiltration trenches should be 20 or 50 mm, uniformly-graded, clean (maximum wash loss of 0.5%), crushed angular stone that has a porosityThe porosity (n) of a mixture is the ratio of the volume of void-space to the total or bulk volume of the mixture. It is closely related to the concept of void ratio (e) where void ratio is the ratio of the volume of void-space to the volume of solids. n = Volume of voids/Total volume of mixture = e/(1+e) of 0.4[1].

The clean wash to prevent rapid accumulation of finesSoil particles with a diameter less than 0.050 mm. from the aggregateA broad category of particulate material used in construction, including sand, gravel, crushed stone, slag, recycled concrete and geosynthetic aggregates, and available in various particulate size gradations. particles in the base of the reservoir. The uniform grading and the angularity are important to maintain pore throats and clear voids between particles. (i.e. achieve the porosityThe porosity (n) of a mixture is the ratio of the volume of void-space to the total or bulk volume of the mixture. It is closely related to the concept of void ratio (e) where void ratio is the ratio of the volume of void-space to the volume of solids. n = Volume of voids/Total volume of mixture = e/(1+e)). PorosityThe porosity (n) of a mixture is the ratio of the volume of void-space to the total or bulk volume of the mixture. It is closely related to the concept of void ratio (e) where void ratio is the ratio of the volume of void-space to the volume of solids. n = Volume of voids/Total volume of mixture = e/(1+e) and permeability are directly influenced by the size, gradation and angularity of the particles [2]. See jar test for on-site verification testing protocols.

Gravel with structural requirements should also meet the following criteria:

  • Minimum durability index of 35
  • Maximum abrasion of 10% for 100 revolutions and maximum of 50% for 500 revolutions

Standard specifications for the gradation of aggregatesA broad category of particulate material used in construction, including sand, gravel, crushed stone, slag, recycled concrete and geosynthetic aggregates, and available in various particulate size gradations. are maintained by ASTM D2940


Other

Construction

Construction

Gallery

External links

In our effort to make this guide as functional as possible, we have decided to include proprietary systems and links to manufacturers websites.
Inclusion of such links does not constitute endorsement by the Sustainable Technologies Evaluation Program.
Lists are ordered alphabetically; link updates are welcomed using the form below.

Plastic chambers

Concrete chambers


  1. Porosity of Structural Backfill, Tech Sheet #1, Stormtech, Nov 2012, http://www.stormtech.com/download_files/pdf/techsheet1.pdf accessed 16 October 2017
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Judge, Aaron, "Measurement of the Hydraulic Conductivity of Gravels Using a Laboratory Permeameter and Silty Sands Using Field Testing with Observation Wells" (2013). Dissertations. 746. http://scholarworks.umass.edu/open_access_dissertations/746