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Treatment systems for urban (WSUD) systems

 

Urban development can generate impacts on water quality due to chemical and pollutants from roads and roofs. Hard surfaces also cause water to runoff much faster, rather than soak into the ground. These impacts can result in what is referred to as “urban stream syndrome”. Constructed Treatment systems for effective removal of pollutants need to be designed to maximise the treatment processes specific to the target pollutant(s). Water Sensitive Urban design (WSUD) is an integrated approach to minimise the impacts of urban stormwater.

Urban treatment system, Townsville. Source: Queensland Government

Quick facts

Which
treatment systems can I use?
  • Bio-retention basin/ biofilter/Raingardens
  • Treatment wetlands
  • Gross pollutant traps
  • Infiltration trenches
  • Porous paving
  • Rainwater tanks/capture reuse ponds
  • Sediment basins
  • Swales
  • Self-watering street trees/biopods
  • Or any combination of these in a treatment train

Stormwater treatment

The State Planning framework through the State Planning Policy directs matters of “State Interest” that Local Governments must approximately integrate into any new or amended planning schemes for the respective area.

The State interest for Water quality is one of 17 State interests and is stated as “The environmental values and quality of Queensland waters are protected and enhanced” and requires local government to consider several policies including:

  • Land zoned for urban purposes is located in areas that avoid or minimise the disturbance to:
    1. high risk soils
    2. high ecological value aquatic ecosystems
    3. groundwater dependent ecosystems
    4. natural drainage lines and landform features
  • Development is located, designed, constructed and operated to avoid or minimise adverse impacts on environmental values of receiving waters arising from:
    1. altered stormwater quality and hydrology
    2. waste water (other than contaminated stormwater and sewage)
    3. the creation or expansion of non-tidal artificial waterways
    4. the release and mobilisation of nutrients and sediments.
  • During the construction phase, development achieves the applicable stormwater management design objectives through best practice erosion and sediment control.
  • At the post-construction phase, development:
    1. achieves the applicable stormwater management design objectives (load reduction targets for nitrogen phosphorous, sediment and gross pollutants) on-site; or
    2. achieves an alternative locally appropriate solution off-site that achieves an equivalent or improved water quality outcome to the relevant stormwater management design objectives.
  • Development in water resource catchments and water supply buffer areas avoids potential adverse impacts on surface waters and groundwaters to protect drinking water supply environmental values.

Water Sensitive Urban Design

Urban development can generate impacts on water quality due to chemical and pollutants from roads and roofs. Water Sensitive Urban design (WSUD) seeks to minimise this impact by integrating developments with a site’s natural features and promoting the integration of stormwater, water supply and sewage management.

Treatment systems complement, but do not replace the need for measures to prevent the loss of pollutants from the source, such as erosion control (e.g. pile fields, ground cover) or remove the need to implement nutrient, sediment, chemical and water best management practices. Best management practices are the essential first step in any treatment train to prevent or minimise pollutants entering the water system.

Additional information

Environmental Protection Policy (Water) Urban stormwater quality

The ‘Living Waterways’ approach developed by Water by Design (Healthy Land and Water) is a best practice environmental management approach that assists practitioners and government to deliver enduring and affordable outdoor spaces which engage the surrounding communities.

WSUD page at Water by Design/Healthy Land and Water

Water by design page

Water by Design: Technical design guidelines

Case studies - Evaluating Options for Water Sensitive Urban Design

Plant selection for WSUD: WSUD design guidelines for Mackay

The Queensland Government and Healthy land and water fact sheets available on mobile platforms for nine simple control measures to minimise soil erosion and control other pollutants from house building sites

Water by Design (2017). Draft Wetland Technical Design Guidelines (Version 1).

Queensland Guidelines

Water by Design: Wetland Technical design guidelines
Plant selection for WSUD: WSUD design guidelines for Mackay
How to Prevent Erosion on Building Sites

The Queensland Government and Healthy land and water have a series of fact sheets available on mobile platforms for nine simple control measures to minimise soil erosion and control other pollutants from house building sites available here


Last updated: 11 September 2018

This page should be cited as:

Treatment systems for urban (WSUD) systems, WetlandInfo 2018, Department of Environment and Science, Queensland, viewed 11 February 2019, <https://wetlandinfo.des.qld.gov.au/wetlands/management/treatment-systems/for-urban/>.

Queensland Government
WetlandInfo   —   Department of Environment and Science