Bioretention: Performance

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STEPSustainable Technologies Evaluation Program are conducting a review of performance for many BMPBest management practice. State of the art methods or techniques used to manage the quantity and improve the quality of wet weather flow. BMPs include: source, conveyance and end-of-pipe controls. types throughout 2018. This content will be updated shortly.

Performance of bioretentionA shallow excavated surface depression containing prepared filter media, mulch, and planted with selected vegetation. with internal water storage[1]
Location 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. composition Media depth (cm) Internal water storage depth (cm) I/P ratioThe ratio of the catchment (impervious area) to the footprint area of the receiving BMP (pervious area). RunoffThat potion of the water precipitated onto a catchment area, which flows as surface discharge from the catchment area past a specified point.Water from rain, snow melt, or irrigation that flows over the land surface. volume reduction (%) TSSTotal suspended solids reduction (%) TNTotal nitrogen reduction (%) TPTotal phosphorus reduction (%)
Montréal[2] 88% sandMineral particles which are smaller than 2 mm, and which are free of appreciable quantities of clay and silt. Coarse sand usually designates sand grains with particle size between 0.2 and 0.02 mm., 8% finesSoil particles with a diameter less than 0.050 mm., 4% OM 180 150 47 97 99 99 99
Virginia[3] 88% sandMineral particles which are smaller than 2 mm, and which are free of appreciable quantities of clay and silt. Coarse sand usually designates sand grains with particle size between 0.2 and 0.02 mm., 8% finesSoil particles with a diameter less than 0.050 mm., 4% OM 180 150 47 97 99 99 99
North Carolina[4] 96% sandMineral particles which are smaller than 2 mm, and which are free of appreciable quantities of clay and silt. Coarse sand usually designates sand grains with particle size between 0.2 and 0.02 mm., 4% finesSoil particles with a diameter less than 0.050 mm. 110 88 12 89 58 58 -10
58 93
96 72 13 98
42 100
North Carolina[5] loamy sandMineral particles which are smaller than 2 mm, and which are free of appreciable quantities of clay and silt. Coarse sand usually designates sand grains with particle size between 0.2 and 0.02 mm., 3% OM 120 60 20 99 - - -
North Carolina[6] 98% sandMineral particles which are smaller than 2 mm, and which are free of appreciable quantities of clay and silt. Coarse sand usually designates sand grains with particle size between 0.2 and 0.02 mm., 2% finesSoil particles with a diameter less than 0.050 mm. 90 30 12 90 - - -
90 60 12 98 - - -
North Carolina[7] 15% sandMineral particles which are smaller than 2 mm, and which are free of appreciable quantities of clay and silt. Coarse sand usually designates sand grains with particle size between 0.2 and 0.02 mm., 80% finesSoil particles with a diameter less than 0.050 mm., 5% OM 60 45 68 - - 54 63
90 75 68 - - 54 58

For review


  1. Liu J, Sample D, Bell C, Guan Y. Review and Research Needs of Bioretention Used for the Treatment of Urban Stormwater. Water. 2014;6(4):1069-1099. doi:10.3390/w6041069.
  2. Géhéniau N, Fuamba M, Mahaut V, Gendron MR, Dugué M. Monitoring of a Rain Garden in Cold Climate: Case Study of a Parking Lot near Montréal. J Irrig Drain Eng. 2015;141(6):4014073. doi:10.1061/(ASCE)IR.1943-4774.0000836.
  3. DeBusk KM, Wynn TM. Storm-Water Bioretention for Runoff Quality and Quantity Mitigation. J Environ Eng. 2011;137(9):800-808. doi:10.1061/(ASCE)EE.1943-7870.0000388.
  4. Brown RA, Asce AM, Hunt WF, Asce M. Underdrain Configuration to Enhance Bioretention Exfiltration to Reduce Pollutant Loads. J Environ Eng. 2011;137(11):1082-1091. doi:10.1061/(ASCE)EE.1943-7870.0000437.
  5. Li H, Sharkey LJ, Hunt WF, Davis AP. Mitigation of Impervious Surface Hydrology Using Bioretention in North Carolina and Maryland. J Hydrol Eng. 2009;14(4):407-415. doi:10.1061/(ASCE)1084-0699(2009)14:4(407).
  6. Brown RA, Hunt WF. Bioretention Performance in the Upper Coastal Plain of North Carolina. In: Low Impact Development for Urban Ecosystem and Habitat Protection. Reston, VA: American Society of Civil Engineers; 2008:1-10. doi:10.1061/41009(333)95.
  7. Passeport E, Hunt WF, Line DE, Smith RA, Brown RA. Field Study of the Ability of Two Grassed Bioretention Cells to Reduce Storm-Water Runoff Pollution. J Irrig Drain Eng. 2009;135(4):505-510. doi:10.1061/(ASCE)IR.1943-4774.0000006.