The effectiveness of certain sustainable urban drainage systems in controlling flooding and pollution from urban runoff

  • Kirsteen Macdonald

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    The research presented in this thesis addressed the performance of Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) at three sites in Scotland - a porous paved car park and two swales. It is the first research to provide results for such systems in the UK and also the first direct comparison between SUDS and traditional systems in situ. The aim of developing guidance on effectiveness and synthesising design recommendations has been achieved with the integration of hydrological and water quality studies together with modeling. Monitoring data and information were analysed on both a site-by-site basis and as a comparison between sites.

    Hydrological and water quality data were collected at each site. Key hydraulic parameters examined include percentage runoff, initial runoff loss, peak flow reduction and lag time. The term Benefit Factor has been introduced as a volumetric measure used to summarise the hydraulic benefit gained by installing SUDS, as no comparable terminology has yet been used elsewhere. The water quality parameters include physical/ chemical, hydrocarbons and metals. All three sites had low levels of pollution with little scope for water quality improvement, however the changes in water quality did indicate the different processes occurring within the systems.

    Computer models were built for the porous paving installation and one of the swales, further to understand the processes of source control and to analyse the systems. Hydraulic capacity exceedence criteria were investigated using design storms, and finally the models were used to evaluate improvements to design detailing.

    The results of this research have shown that, despite being under-designed according to current guidance, all three sites performed very favourably. The performance of porous paving and swales can be similar depending on design and detailing. A number of design recommendations are made as a result of observations and sensitivity analysis, and these should be considered in conjunction with current guidance.
    Date of AwardJun 2003
    Original languageEnglish
    SponsorsThe Carnegie Trust, Scottish International Educational Trust & Formpave Ltd
    SupervisorChristopher Jefferies (Supervisor)

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