Thermal reduction by an underground storm-water detention system

Poornima Natarajan, Allen P. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Increases in stream temperatures by heated storm-water runoff from impervious surfaces are a serious environmental problem. An underground detention with slow-release facility is a versatile storm-water best management practice (BMP) for buffering high flows. Temperature reductions in underground storm-water storage BMPs, however, have not been quantified. A field study on an underground detention BMP located in Maryland was undertaken to characterize its effect on storm-water runoff temperatures. In colder months, when the runoff temperature ranged from 5 to 15°C, small or no temperature change was observed. Runoff produced during summer storm events, however, with event mean temperatures over 20°C, exhibited mean temperature reductions of 1.6°C through the BMP. While statistically significant, the reductions were not sufficient to cool the summer runoff discharges below the Maryland Class III temperature standard (20°C) 100% of the time. The results indicate that underground facilities can moderate high runoff temperatures, but that more efficient designs are needed for heat transfer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)520-526
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Environmental Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2010


  • Best management practice
  • Runoff temperature
  • Trout
  • Underground detention
  • Urban storm-water runoff


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