Research Shows Constructed Storm Water Wetlands in UW-Madison Arboretum are Releasing Phosphorous
Engineers Failed to Account for Critical Variables In Design and Implementation of Storm Water Facility, say researchers.
Recently constructed storm water wetlands in the Arboretum are releasing and not treating, as intended, phosphorous and other nutrients harmful to the Lake Wingra Watershed and Lake Wingra itself, according to a study conducted by a group of University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers. The research is discussed in a story by Yilang Peng, a reporter for the Madison Commons. To read the full story by Peng, click here.
In the interest of full disclosure, this blogger, in 2007 and 2008 at the time of planning for the project in question (aka Pond #2) was an Arboretum staffer and member of the Arboretum’s Storm Water Committee. During the planning and design phase of the project, this blogger, along with a small minority of colleagues on the committee, repeatedly pointed out the risks associated with the rigid engineering design and argued that the engineers and project proponents at least consider alternative restoration-oriented design approaches that would provide the required “storm water treatment credits” plus enhanced ecological benefits; not possible was the message from the engineers. (More about storm water credits in a future post.)
The “loyal opposition” was unsuccessful in convincing the project engineers, University administrators, and other project proponents that an ecological restoration based storm water management design was possible and that such a design would produce the desired outcomes, while avoiding the current unfortunate situation.