Jul 02, 2003

Managing Storm Water Runoff With Underground Chambers

Effectively managing storm water runoff from urban
development, while at the same time designing a cost-effective solution for the
developer, is an increasing challenge for the engineering community.

That was the case at the Gardens Office Park at Bartons
Corner in West Warwick, R.I. Leonard Bradley, Jr., P.E. of DiPrete Engineering
Associates in nearby Cranston had to design a detention system to handle the
storm water runoff from two buildings (approximately 45,000 ft. each) and the
surrounding impervious surfaces. He specified a subsurface stormwater
management system utilizing RECHARGER chambers from Cultec, Inc.
of Brookfield, Conn.

The chambers are manufactured from high quality polyethylene
and feature a repeating, fully formed end wall for optimum strength and
performance. Because of this vertical end wall, each connection at the joint is
the strongest part of the system, according to Fred Dotson, sales manager for
Cultec. He added that with other types of systems, the joint connection could be
the most vulnerable point. The open bottom design of the chambers and
perforated side walls provide higher infiltrative capability and groundwater

Bradley confirms that the site had its challenges. Besides a
high water table and grade limitations, he had to contend with limited space
for the storm water management system.

"There was no room for a detention pond so the system
had to go under the pavement" according to Bradley. One of the reasons he
chose the RECHARGER 180 heavy duty chambers was due to the vertical dimension
of 20.5 in. Bradley said, "The Cultec system fit the site and served the

The storm water management system consisted of 620 RECHARGER
180 chambers including a chamber-type High Volume, Low Velocity Header System
(HVLV(TM)) that is installed in-line with the RECHARGER 180 chamber bed.

The space constraints faced by the engineering firm were
also a problem for project manager, David Manocchio of Horton Construction
Company, E. Providence, R.I.

"We couldn’t get equipment into the hole. The
system needed to be handled by hand," he said. The RECHARGER chambers are
lightweight so workers can easily maneuver them around the job site without the
need for heavy equipment. Installing the RECHARGER chambers was a "simple
step-by-step process" according to Manocchio. The chambers have a
patented rib connection; one unit overlaps the next without the need for
additional parts or screws. They
are "very contractor friendly," he added.

By using the Cultec chamber system, the project team was
able to minimize cost and the amount of fill to be hauled in. Another advantage
of taking storm water management underground is that planners can save valuable
surface space for other uses.

In this case, a paved parking area for the office buildings
was installed above the chamber system.

For further information, call 800/428-5832.

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