Best Management Practices (BMPs) are increasingly used to restore river water quality but design guidance is limited. An alternative approach to remediating diffuse pollution loads is to identify the most polluting high flows from pollutographs and hydrographs and spill these flows into riparian treatment wetlands for treatment before drainage back into the watercourse. The approach is demonstrated for two contrasting catchments in Scotland impacted by diffuse pollution. The Caw Burn receives industrial estate drainage with high suspended solids, hydrocarbons, BOD and ammoniacal-nitrogen concentrations. Applying the proposed design criteria demonstrated that the existing retrofit BMP system at the site is undersized (4950 m2) compared to the required wetland area (11,800 m2), but accommodating the additional area is likely to be expensive. The second case-study is Brighouse Bay where bathing waters are impacted by faecal indicator organisms derived primarily from livestock runoff. In this catchment the riparian wetland area required to retain runoff so that E. coli bacteria would die-off to concentrations below bathing water standards was estimated to be 3–6 ha (0.5–1% of catchment area). Further refinement and testing of the design approach is required, including consideration of other factors such as vegetation type, ownership and maintenance, to develop a more holistic approach to river restoration.
Riparian wetlands for enhancing the self-purification capacity of streams
B.J. D'Arcy, N. McLean, K.V. Heal, D. Kay; Riparian wetlands for enhancing the self-purification capacity of streams. Water Sci Technol 1 July 2007; 56 (1): 49–57. doi: https://doi.org/10.2166/wst.2007.435
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