Database provides erosion control BMPs
The Urban Water Resources Research Council of the Reston, Va.-based American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), under a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, has expanded the National Stormwater Best Management Practices (BMP) Database. Since its initial release in June 1999, the database has grown from including 71 BMPs to including about 160 at the end of last year.
The ASCE created the database to provide civil engineers with scientific and consistent evaluation of BMP performance. The information targets communities that need to know which types of BMPs are appropriate to local conditions — such as which BMPs function best in cold climates or in areas of heavy rainfall — and how to monitor BMP performance to ensure proper function.
Key categories of the database include test site location characteristics, sponsoring and testing agencies, watershed characteristics, BMP design parameters and costs, monitoring locations and instrumentation, monitoring costs, precipitation, flow and water quality. Information can be added by civil engineers using the system’s data entry module.
The data entry module currently accepts information about structural BMPs, such as those for various types of detention basins, retention basins, infiltration basins, wetland basins, wetland channels, biofilters, grass strips, filter media, hydrodynamic devices, percolation trenches/dry wells and porous pavement. It also accepts information about nonstructural BMPs, which include those for education, recycling, maintenance practices and source controls.
Users can add to that list by submitting individual BMP study findings to the National Stormwater BMP Database Clearinghouse, which is operated by Denver-based Wright Water Engineers. For example, monitoring data for 16 new test sites, including nine nonstructural and seven structural BMPs, was added to the database in January based on information provided by Professor Robert Pitt at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa.
The Clearinghouse reviews the submissions prior to posting new information to the master database to ensure that required data, such as design parameters, flows and water quality, has been provided. The reviews also ensure that the information is technically reasonable. For example, the Clearinghouse evaluates the relationships between peak flows and flow volumes relative to the tributary watershed and precipitation events.
ASCE also has created a monitoring guidance manual as a companion to the database. The manual outlines consistent BMP monitoring and reporting protocols so users can help evaluate data and transfer their findings to the database. The manual is available through the project Web site, www.bmpdatabase.org.