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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Biofilters in San Diego County: A Descriptive Analysis of Their Stormwater Management Implications, the Water Regime’s Role and the Way Forward


As San Diego County continues to grow, so do the challenges to address stormwater runoff. Stormwater runoff can have significant impacts to coastal and marine ecosystems and the need to reduce water consumption and reuse gray water has never been as important as in our current situation. Stormwater is treated through a combination of biogeochemical processes, microbial, vegetative and organic uptake and filtration through a mixed or single media filter. Biofilters are a combination of a media filter, underground retention basin, and a small community of plants on top and other cover such as mulch or rocks. These elements are intended to prevent pollution elements such as solid waste, pathogens, sediments, chemicals and metals from entering waterways and minimizing impacts to bodies of water intended for beneficial uses. The goal of this study is to conduct an in-depth policy and management analysis of biofilters in San Diego County. This assessment will examine their implications in stormwater management, the water regime’s role and recommendations on what specific type of biofilter is the most suited for southern California’s projected global warming-related changes in weather patterns.

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