Construction Specifications for Sand Filters, Bioretention and Open Channels

 

Sand Filter Specifications

Material Specifications for Sand Filters

The allowable materials for sand filter construction are detailed in Table 1.

Sand Filter Testing Specifications

Underground sand filters, facilities within sensitive groundwater aquifers, and filters designed to serve urban hot spots are to be tested for water tightness prior to placement of filter layers. Entrances and exits should be plugged and the system completely filled with water to demonstrate water tightness.

All overflow weirs, multiple orifices and flow distribution slots to be field-tested as to verify adequate distribution of flows.

Sand Filter Construction Specifications

Provide sufficient maintenance access; 12-foot-wide road with legally recorded easement. Vegetated access slopes to be a maximum of 10%; gravel slopes to 15%; paved slopes to 25%.

Absolutely no runoff is to enter the filter until all contributing drainage areas have been stabilized.

Surface of filter bed to be completely level.

All sand filters should be clearly delineated with signs so that they may be located when maintenance is due.

Surface sand filters shall be planted with appropriate grasses as specified in your local NRCS Standards and Specifications guidance.

"Pocket" sand filters (and residential bioretention facilities treating areas larger than an acre) shall be sized with an "ornamental" stone window covering approximately 10% of the filter area. This surface shall be 2" to 5" size stone on top of a pea gravel layer (3/4 inch stone) approximately 4 to 6" of pea gravel.

Specifications Pertaining to Underground Sand Filters

Provide manhole and/or grates to all underground and below grade structures. Manholes shall be in compliance with standard specifications for each jurisdiction but diameters should be 30" minimum (to comply with OSHA confined space requirements) but not too heavy to lift. Aluminum and steel louvered doors are also acceptable. Ten inch long (minimum) manhole steps (12" o.c.) shall be cast in place or drilled and mortared into the wall below each manhole. A 5' minimum height clearance (from the top of the sand layer to the bottom of the slab) is required for all permanent underground structures. Lift rings are to be supplied to remove/replace top slabs. Manholes may need to be grated to allow for proper ventilation; if required, place manholes away from areas of heavy pedestrian traffic.

Underground sand filters shall be constructed with a dewatering gate valve located just above the top of the filter bed should the bed clog.

Underground sand beds shall be protected from trash accumulation by a wide mesh geotextile screen to be placed on the surface of the sand bed; screen is to be rolled up, removed, cleaned and re-installed during maintenance operations.

Table 1. Sand Material Specifications

Parameter Specification Size Notes
Sand clean AASHTO M-6 or ASTM C-33 concrete sand 0.02" to 0.04" Sand substitutions such as Diabase and Graystone #10 are not acceptable. No calcium carbonated or dolomitic sand substitutions are acceptable. "rock dust" cannot be substituted for sand.
Peat ash content: < 15%

pH range: 5.2 to 4.9

loose bulk density 0.12 to 0.15 g/cc

n/a The material must be Reed-Sedge Hemic Peat, shredded, uncompacted, uniform, and clean.
Underdrain Gravel AASHTO M-43 0.25" to 0.75"
Geotextile Fabric (if required) ASTM D-751 (puncture strength - 125 lb.)

ASTM D-1117 (Mullen Burst Strength - 400 psi)

ASTM D-1682 (Tensile Strength - 300 lb.)

0.08" thick

equivalent opening size of #80 sieve

Must maintain 125 gpm per sq. ft. flow rate. Note: a 4" pea gravel layer may be substituted for geotextiles meant to "separate" sand filter layers.
Impermeable Liner

(if required)

ASTM D 751 (thickness)

ASTM D 412 (tensile strength 1,100 lb., elongation 200%)

ASTM D 624 (Tear resistance - 150 lb./in)

ASTM D 471 (water adsorption: +8 to -2% mass)

30 mil thickness Liner to be ultraviolet resistant. A geotextile fabric should be used to protect the liner from puncture.
Underdrain Piping ASTM D-1785 or AASHTO M-278 6" rigid schedule 40 PVC 3/8" perf. @ 6" on center, 4 holes per row; minimum of 3" of gravel over pipes; not necessary underneath pipes
Concrete (Cast-in-place) See local DOT Standards and Specs.

f'c = 3500 psi, normal weight, air-entrained; re-inforcing to meet ASTM 615-60

n/a on-site testing of poured-in-place concrete required:

28 day strength and slump test; all concrete design (cast-in-place or pre-cast) not using previously approved State or local standards requires design drawings sealed and approved by a licensed professional structural engineer.

Concrete (pre-cast) per pre-cast manufacturer n/a SEE ABOVE NOTE
non-rebar steel ASTM A-36 n/a structural steel to be hot-dipped galvanized ASTM A123


Specifications for Bioretention

Material Specifications

The allowable materials to be used in bioretention area are detailed in Table 2.

Planting Soil

The soil shall be a uniform mix, free of stones, stumps, roots or other similar objects larger than two inches. No other materials or substances shall be mixed or dumped within the bioretention area that may be harmful to plant growth, or prove a hindrance to the planting or maintenance operations. The planting soil shall be free of noxious weeds.

The planting soil shall be tested and shall meet the following criteria:

pH range 5.2 - 7.0
organic matter 1.5 - 4%
magnesium 35 lb./ac
phosphorus P2O5 75 lb./ac
potassium K2O 85 lb./ac
soluble salts not to exceed 500 ppm

All bioretention areas shall have a minimum of one test. Each test shall consist of both the standard soil test for pH, phosphorus, and potassium and additional tests of organic matter, and soluble salts. A textural analysis is required from the site stockpiled topsoil. If topsoil is imported, then a texture analysis shall be performed for each location where the top soil was excavated.

Since different labs calibrate their testing equipment differently, all testing results shall come from the same testing facility.

Should the pH fall out of the acceptable range, it may be modified (higher) with lime or (lower) with iron sulfate plus sulfur.

Compaction

It is very important to minimize compaction of both the base of the bioretention area and the required backfill. When possible, use excavation hoes to remove original soil. If bioretention areas is excavated using a loader, the contractor should use wide track or marsh track equipment, or light equipment with turf type tires. Use of equipment with narrow tracks or narrow tires, rubber tires with large lugs, or high pressure tires will cause excessive compaction resulting in reduced infiltration rates and storage volumes and is not acceptable. Compaction will significantly contribute to design failure.

Compaction can be alleviated at the base of the bioretention facility by using a primary tilling operation such as a chisel plow, ripper, or subsoiler. These tilling operations are to refracture the soil profile through the 12 inch compaction zone. Substitute methods must be approved by the engineer. Rototillers typically do not till deep enough to reduce the effects of compaction from heavy equipment.

Rototill 2 to 3 inches of sand into the base of the bioretention facility before back filling the required sand layer. Pump any ponded water before preparing (rototilling) base.

When back filling the topsoil over the sand layer, first place 3 to 4 inches of topsoil over the sand, then rototill the sand/topsoil to create a gradation zone. Backfill the remainder of the topsoil to final grade.

When back filling the bioretention facility, place soil in lifts 12" or greater. Do not use heavy equipment within the bioretention basin. Heavy equipment can be used around the perimeter of the basin to supply soils and sand. Grade bioretention materials with light equipment such as a compact loader or a dozer/loader with marsh tracks.

Plant Material

Recommended plant material for bioretention areas can be found in your local NRCS Standards and Specifications guidance.

Plant Installation

Mulch around individual plants only. Shredded hardwood mulch is the only accepted mulch. Pine mulch and wood chips will float and move to the perimeter of the bioretention area during a storm event and are not acceptable. Shredded mulch must be well aged (6 to 12 months) for acceptance.

The plant root ball should be planted so 1/8th of the ball is above final grade surface.

Root stock of the plant material shall be kept moist during transport and on-site storage. The diameter of the planting pit shall be at least six inches larger than the diameter of the planting ball. Set and maintain the plant straight during the entire planting process. Thoroughly water ground bed cover after installation.

Trees shall be braced using 2" X 2" stakes only as necessary and for the first growing season only. Stakes are to be equally spaced on the outside of the tree ball.

Grasses and legume seed shall be tilled into the soil to a depth of at least one inch. Grass and legume plugs shall be planted following the non-grass ground cover planting specifications.

The topsoil specifications provide enough organic material to adequately supply nutrients from natural cycling. The primary function of the bioretention structure is to improve water quality. Adding fertilizers defeats, or at a minimum, impedes this goal. Only add fertilizer if wood chips or mulch is used to amend the soil. Rototill urea fertilizer at a rate of 2 pounds per 1000 square feet.

Underdrains

Under drains to be placed on a 3'-0" wide section of filter cloth. Pipe is placed next, followed by the gravel bedding. The ends of under drain pipes not terminating in an observation well shall be capped.

The main collector pipe for underdrain systems shall be constructed at a minimum slope of 0.5%. Observation wells and/or clean-out pipes must be provided (one minimum per every 1000 square feet of surface area).

Miscellaneous

The bioretention facility may not be constructed until all contributing drainage area has been stabilized.

Table 2. Materials Specifications for Bioretention

Parameter Specification Size Notes
Plantings see your local NRCS Standards and Specifications guidance. n/a plantings are site-specific
Planting Soil

[4' deep]

sand 35 - 60%

silt 30 - 55%

clay 10 - 25%

n/a USDA soil types loamy sand, sandy loam or loam
Mulch shredded hardwood aged 6 months, minimum
pea gravel diaphragm and curtain drain pea gravel: ASTM D 448

ornamental stone: washed cobbles

pea gravel: No. 6

stone: 2" to 5"

Geotextile Class "C" apparent opening size (ASTM-D-4751) grab tensile strength (ASTM-D-4632) burst strength (ASTM-D-4833) n/a for use as necessary beneath underdrains only
underdrain gravel AASHTO M-43 0.25" to 0.75"
underdrain piping ASTM D 1785 or AASHTO M-278 6" rigid schedule 40 PVC 3/8" perf. @ 6" on center, 4 holes per row; minimum of 3" of gravel over pipes; not necessary underneath pipes
poured in place concrete (if required) See local DOT Standards and Specs.; f'c = 3500 lb. @ 28 days, normal weight, air-entrained; re-inforcing to meet ASTM 615-60 n/a on-site testing of poured-in-place concrete required:

28 day strength and slump test; all concrete design (cast-in-place or pre-cast) not using previously approved State or local standards requires design drawings sealed and approved by a licensed professional structural engineer.

sand

[1' deep]

AASHTO M-6 or ASTM C-33 0.02" to 0.04" Sand substitutions such as Diabase and Graystone #10 are not acceptable. No calcium carbonated or dolomitic sand substitutions are acceptable. No "rock dust" can be used for sand.


Specifications for Open Channels and Filter Strips

Material Specifications

The recommended construction materials for open channels and filter strips are detailed in Table 3.

Dry Swales

Wet Swales

Follow above information for dry swales, with the following exceptions: the seasonally high water table may inundate the swale; but not above the design bottom of the channel [NOTE: if the water table is stable within the channel; the WQv storage may start at this point]

Excavate into undisturbed soils; do not use an underdrain system.

Filter Strips

Construct pea gravel diaphragms 12" wide, minimum, and 24" deep minimum.

Pervious berms to be a sand/gravel mix (35-60% sand, 30-55% silt, and 10-25% gravel). Berms to have overflow weirs with 6 inch minimum head.

Slope range to be 2% minimum to 6% maximum.

Plant Selection

Use recommended grass species for establishing permanent ground cover; see your local NRCS Standards and Specifications guidance.

Table 3. Open Vegetated Swale and Filter Strip Materials Specifications


Parameter
Specification
Size
Notes
Dry swale soil USCS; ML, SM, SC n/a soil with a higher percent organic content is preferred
Dry Swale sand ASTM C-33 fine aggregate concrete sand 0.02" to 0.04"
Check Dam (pressure treated) AWPA Standard C6 6" by 6" or 8" by 8" do not coat with creosote; embed at least 3' into side slopes
Check Dam (natural wood) Black Locust, Red Mulberry, Cedars, Catalpa, White Oak, Chestnut Oak, Black Walnut 6" to 12" diameter; notch as necessary do not use the following, as these species have a predisposition towards rot: Ash, Beech, Birch, Elm, Hackberry, hemlock, Hickories, Maples, Red and Black Oak, Pines, Poplar, Spruce, Sweetgum, Willow
Filter Strip sand/gravel pervious berm sand: per dry swale sand

gravel; AASHTO M-43

sand: 0.02" to 0.04"

gravel: ½" to 1"

mix with approximately 25% loan soil to support grass cover crop; see Bioretention planting soil notes for more detail.
pea gravel diaphragm and curtain drain ASTM D 448 varies (No. 6) or (1/8" to 3/8") use clean bank-run gravel
under drain gravel AASHTO M-43 0.25" to 0.75"
under drain ASTM D -1785 or AASHTO M-278 6" rigid Schedule 40 PVC 3/8" perf. @ 6" o.c.; 4 holes per row
Geotextile See local DOT Standards and Specs n/a  
rip rap per local DOT criteria size per local DOT requirements based on 10-year design flows