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In the 1990's, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) mandated that most municipalities in the United States with populations larger than 10,000 obtain a stormwater runoff discharge permit. One of the requirements of this permit program is the use of nonstructural and structural best management practices (BMPs) appropriate to local conditions for new development and significant redevelopment. The requirements also include a provision to periodically evaluate existing flood control systems for potential retrofits of BMPs.

In response to this program, communities need to know which types of BMPs are appropriate for them and how to monitor the performance of the BMPs they select to ensure they function properly. However, a centralized, easy-to-use, scientifically sound tool for assessing the appropriateness of BMPs under a variety of site conditions was lacking. In addition, BMP studies in the literature had not historically followed standardized data collection, reporting and performance evaluation protocols, making a scientific and consistent evaluation of these data difficult. In response to this problem, the International Stormwater BMP Database project began in 1996. The project's original long-term goal, which remains the central focus of the project, is to gather sufficient technical design and performance information to improve BMP selection and design so that local stormwater problems can be cost-effectively addressed. The USEPA initially funded the project through the Urban Water Resources Research Council (UWRRC) of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) via multiple grants. In 2004, the project transitioned to a more broadly supported coalition of partners led by the Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF). The coalition supporting the project now includes the American Public Works Association (APWA), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the USEPA and the Environmental and Water Resources Institute (EWRI) of ASCE. Wright Water Engineers, Inc., and GeoSyntec Consultants (Project Team) have continued as the entities maintaining and operating the Database clearinghouse and web page, answering questions, conducting analyses of newly submitted BMP data, conducting updated performance evaluations of the overall data set, and disseminating project findings.

This paper provides an update on the Database growth over the last decade and identifies recent and ongoing enhancements to improve the user friendliness of the Database, such as a spreadsheet-based data entry format and improved summary data formats. Additionally, the latest BMP performance analysis findings (as of May 2007) based on data for approximately 280 BMPs are presented, along with example uses of the Database and plans for the future of the project.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2007-01-01

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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