Storm parks: Integrated urban wetland systems for stormwater management and placemaking

Sahil Sharma


This presentation will discuss how the principals of low impact development (LID) are being utilized by the land development industry in Calgary to create integrated urban wetland systems that exceed stormwater treatment requirements and provide new opportunities for place-making. There are changing environmental considerations in the City of Calgary that are driving stormwater outcomes for new land development projects. Due to recent high intensity storm events, like the 2013 floods, and outcomes of long-term watershed studies, the requirements for stormwater management in new and retro-fit construction projects have created an opportunity for the implementation and study of low impact development (LID) designs in land developments. For some communities the approach of developing conventional storm ponds is not able to sufficiently meet the requirements set by these current regulatory standards. This has led to the design of several innovative storm water treatment facilities in the greater Calgary region that integrate engineered wetlands and advanced solids settling to create high quality discharge that protects downstream receiving environments. Generally referred to as “Storm Parks”, this emerging class of facilities differ from traditional storm ponds by integrating advanced treatment elements into each facility. The key features of a Storm Park are:

  • Nautilus Pond ®, a proprietary stormwater clarifier that achieves TSS reduction
  • Main Pond, which provides the required volumetric storage but also allows for flexible operating regimes
  • Treatment Wetlands, which provide nutrient removal through a constantly running water circulation system

The function, design considerations, modelling techniques, and emerging opportunities for each of these elements will be described using both using examples from past and on-going projects from MAGNA Engineering Services. The first principles behind each unit process are explained, highlighting how the Storm Park utilizes LID principles to advance the stormwater management objectives of both private industry and regulating bodies.

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