Settling velocities of coarse organic solids

Aaron J. Pietsch, John A. Chapman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The settling velocity of a particle is an integral parameter in stormwater modeling and design. The settling velocity can be used to predict the fate and transport of stormwater particles and if the particles contribute to nutrient loading in a watershed. Prediction of settling velocity for inorganic particles is generally well-researched and well-understood. Organic particles tend to vary widely in their physical properties and there are currently no set standards or empirical equations for estimating the settling velocity of organic particles. This paper presents data from tree leaves and seeds settling velocity experiments to better understand how organic particles settle in the context of settling velocity equations such as the one developed by Ferguson and Church. Analysis of the collected data showed that the second of the two drag coefficients (C2) used in the Ferguson and Church Equation was sensitive to particle type and shape. By averaging C2 by particle type and species, there was a correlation between the observed settling velocity and the settling velocity predicted by the Ferguson and Church Equation (R2 = 0.83). With these results, stormwater modelers and designers are equipped with a better understanding of how to represent common organic particles in terms of settling velocity. Additional research on a wider variety of organic particle types and species would expand on the dataset presented here.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number12436
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was supported by the Minnesota Stormwater Research and Technology Transfer Program administered by the University of Minnesota Water Resources Center through an appropriation from the Clean Water Fund established by Minnesota Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment and from the Minnesota Stormwater Research Council with financial contributions from: Capitol Region Watershed District, Comfort Lake-Forest Lake Watershed District, Mississippi Watershed Management Organization, Nine Mile Creek Watershed District, Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District, South Washington Watershed District, City of Edina, City of Minnetonka, City of Woodbury, and, Wenck Associates, Minnesota Cities Stormwater Coalition.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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