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Drainage systems can contribute to sustainable development and improve the places and spaces where we live, work and play by balancing the different opportunities and challenges that influence urban design and the development of communities. Approaches to manage surface water that take account of water quantity (flooding), water quality (pollution) biodiversity (wildlife and plants) and amenity are collectively referred to as Sustainable Drainage Systems (SUDs).

A sustainable drainage system is designed to reduce the potential impact of new and existing developments with respect to surface drainage discharges. Increasing urbanization has caused problems with increased flash flooding (storm water) after sudden rain. As areas of vegetation are replaced by concrete, the area loses its ability to absorb rainwater. The rain is instead directed into surface water drainage systems often overloading them and thereby causing floods.

The idea behind SUDs is to try and replicate natural systems that use cost- effective solutions with low environmental impact to drain away dirty and surface water runoff through collection, storage and cleaning before allowing it to be released slowly back into the environment such as water courses. This is to counter the effect of conventional drainage system that often lead to flooding, pollution of the environment- with the resultant harm to wildlife, contamination of ground water sources that are used to provide drinking water.

The paradigm of SUDs solutions should be that it should be easy to manage, requiring little or preferably no energy at all, resilient to use and being environmentally as well as aesthetically pleasing. Examples of this type of systems are basins (shallow, landscaped depressions that are dry most of the time when there is no rain), rain gardens (shallow, landscaped depressions with

shrubs or herbaceous planting), swales (shallow, normally dry, wide-based ditches), bioretention basin (shallow depressions with gravel and/or sand filtration layers beneath the growing medium), filter drains (gravel filled trench drains), reed beds and other wetland habitats that collect, store and filter dirty water along with providing a habitat for wildlife.

Originally the term SUDs was first used to describe the UK approach to sustainable urban drainage system. The development was not supposed to be necessarily restricted to the urban level only; hence later the word “urban” was dropped to avoid further confusion. SuDS are more sustainable than traditional drainage methods because they:

Manage runoff volumes and flow rates from hard surfaces, reducing the impact of urbanization on flooding

Provide opportunities for using runoff where it falls

Protect or enhance water quality (reducing pollution from runoff)

Protect natural flow regimes in watercourses

Are sympathetic to the environment and the needs of the local community

Provide an attractive habitat for wildlife in urban watercourses

Provide opportunities for evapotranspiration from vegetation and surface water

Encourage natural groundwater/aquifer recharge (where appropriate)

Create better places to live, work and play.

 Encourage natural groundwater/aquifer recharge (where appropriate)  Create better places to live, work and play.


Sustainable drainage includes a variety of components, each having different approaches to managing flows, volumes, water quality and providing amenity and biodiversity.

SUDS are not just traditional soakaways, ponds or wetlands, but are a suite of components working in different ways that can be used to drain a variety of site topographies. SUDS components work in several ways: -

They can infiltrate into the ground.

Convey into a watercourse/sewer.

Storage on site and attenuate the flow of water.

Often SUDS use a combination of these processes and components of these processes may use a number of mechanisms. Sustainable drainage systems use a sequence of techniques that together form a management train. As surface water flows through this system, the flow velocity is controlled and pollutants are removed. The management train may include the following stages: -

1) SOURCE CONTROL: - The inclusion of source control in SUDS schemes is an important principle of SUDS design. It decreases the volume of water entering into the river network/sewer line by intercepting run-off water on roofs for subsequent reuse (irrigation) or for storage and subsequent evapotranspiration as well as providing other benefits like thermal comfort (green roofs). Most of the source control components are located within the private properties. Their main purpose is to manage rainfall close to where it falls, and not allow it to become a problem elsewhere. The main types of source control are green roofs, permeable surfaces and rainwater harvesting. Source controls look to maximize permeability within a site to promote attenuation, treatment and infiltration reducing the need for offsite conveyance.

2) PERMEABLE PAVING: - Pervious surfaces can be either porous or permeable. The major distinction between the two being, porous surfaces infiltrates water over the entire surface area and permeable surface is that which actually is impervious to water, but by the virtue of voids formed through the pattern of the surface infiltrates water to the surface. Pervious surfaces provide a surface for pedestrian and/or vehicular traffic while allowing rainwater to infiltrate into the surface and further into the underlying layers. The water can be temporarily stored before infiltration to the ground, reused, or discharged to a watercourse or other drainage system. Surfaces with an aggregate sub-base can provide good water quality treatment. 3) STORM WATER DETENTION: - Detention basins are surface storage basins or facilities that are provided for flow control through attenuation of stormwater runoff. These basins also result in the setting of some pollutants. These basins are normally dry and in certain areas the entire land may function as recreational facility. Basins can also be of mixed nature, a permanently wet area for wildlife or treatment of the water runoff and an area that is usually kept dry to cater to flood attenuation. Basins, tend to be found at the end of the management train, are used if extended treatment of the runoff water is required or if they are required to support landscape or wildlife. 4) STORM WATER INFILTERATION: - Infiltration systems such as infiltration trenches and soakaways mimic natural recharge allowing water to soak into the ground through the subsoil layers before returning it to the water table below. Soakaways are the most common type of infiltration device. They store runoff from a single house or a development and allow its efficient infiltration into the surrounding soil. Drainage systems from the individual properties are often connected to an over-sized square or rectangular, rubble filled void, sited below the ground level. A soakaway

will allow water to soak through the surface into the gravel sub-base below thereby draining out the pollutants and temporarily storing the water before allowing it to soak into the ground. 5) SWALES AND CONVEYANCE CHANNELS: - The transfer of surface water runoff (conveyance) across the site through various components is necessary. There are a variety of approaches that can be used; underground through pipes with little control or water quality treatment, through vegetated channels on the surface providing some treatment and attenuation and through more engineered canals. The preference in terms of sustainability is given to vegetated swales or channels. Swales are usually shallow grasses or vegetated channels that are used to collect and/or move water. The shallow side slopes and flat bottom means that for most of the time water flows in a thin layer, some of them can be under drained with the use of perforated pipe. Swales can also provide some storage and filtration as well. Canals are open surface water features with hard edges. They can have a variety of cross sections to suit the urban landscape and can also be planted to provide water treatment. In dense urban developments, or retrofit situations they can be an effective way of providing SuDS and if appropriately designed can also act as pre-treatment to remove silt before water is conveyed into other SuDS components.

A rain garden: similar to a bio retention area, except that it does not have

A rain garden: similar to a bio retention area, except that it does not have engineering soils and does not provide as much water treatment. A rain garden is primarily used to manage runoff from roofs

A rain garden is primarily used to manage runoff from roofs An infiltration basin: dry basin

An infiltration basin: dry basin or depression designed to promote infiltration of surface water runoff into the ground. Plants in an infiltration basin should be able to withstand periods of ponding and dry periods and enhance the pores of the sub soil by deep roots

Vegetated swales or channels used to collect or move water
Vegetated swales or channels used to collect or move water
Vegetated swales or channels used to collect or move water Canals or rills having a hard

Canals or rills having a hard edge that are used to transport water to river network after treating the runoff water.

Permeable surface that allow water to pass through the voids of the impervious surface material.

Permeable surface that allow water to pass through the voids of the impervious surface material.

Green roofs used to store water for subsequent evapo-transpiration
Green roofs used to store water for subsequent evapo-transpiration
roofs used to store water for subsequent evapo-transpiration Surface water runoff collected through permeable surfaces or

Surface water runoff collected through permeable surfaces or other filter mechanisms, such as an under-drained swale, will not contain debris so can enter SuDS components through a grille or hidden inlet








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