Biphasic rain garden could reduce harmful runoff

Students in Ohio State’s School of Environment and Natural Resources have a plan to improve one of the most polluted sections of the Olentangy River. By installing a rain garden next to Ohio Stadium, harmful chemicals from the stadium parking lot would be intercepted by the garden, improving the water quality of the river.

East campus is covered by 70 percent impervious surfaces. This means that large amounts of stormwater runoff enter the Olentangy. There is enough runoff on campus each year to fill 900,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Using breaking stormwater management technology developed by professors at Ohio State, a biphasic rain garden could be installed near Ohio Stadium to reduce harmful runoff. A biphasic rain garden is a two-column system where the first column drains into the top of the second column via a PVC piping system. This system creates a saturation zone in column one that creates conditions (anerobic) that favor denitrification. The second column provides an unsaturated zone that allows aerobic processes to occur. Biphasic rain gardens remove over 90 percent of many major contaminants.

While the stadium is our main focus, we hope to create a template for rain garden installation across the entire campus. With such a rain garden installation, Ohio State would not only have the best damn band in the land, it will also be the a leader in sustainability.

This photo of the Ohio Stadium was taken from the bank of the nearby Olentangy River. Photo by Mark Jepsen.

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