Turbidity Informed Real-Time Control of a Dry Detention Basin

Aaron Akin

University of Tennessee – Knoxville

Co-Authors: J. Hathaway

As the threats of urbanization, climate change, and degraded infrastructure converge, there is a need to reimagine stormwater management. The majority of stormwater infrastructure is static, unable to adapt as watershed restoration needs are altered or rainfall patterns change. This includes stormwater control measures such as detention basins. However, recent studies have begun to investigate the usefulness of retrofitting such systems with a controllable valve on the outlet to increase or change detention times during rainfall events. Typically, these detention times are predetermined, and thus don’t account for changing conditions between rainfall events such as shifts in water quality. The purpose of this research is to investigate the impact and use of real-time water quality data on a dry detention basin retrofitted with a controllable valve and a turbidity sensor. When rainfall was detected, the basin’s valve would close and detain all water until either a maximum detention time was reached, or turbidity values fell below a predetermined threshold. This method was shown to produce highly variable detention times after rainfall events, highlighting the advantage of an adaptive system over a traditional static system to meet water quality objectives. This study should serve as a foundation for future studies investigating the use of water quality data to make real-time control decisions for stormwater infrastructure.

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