An HRPDC Water Quality Technical Workgroup meeting was held as a workshop in partnership with consultant, Contech Engineered Solutions, to discuss the history, concerns, and future of manufactured treatment devices (MTDs) in the coastal plain. MTDs are proprietary devices installed to treat stormwater before it reaches our waterways. Over 40 engineers and managers of local government stormwater programs, consultants, and state representatives from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) attended the virtual event. Jacob Dorman (Contech ES) kicked off the discussion by providing a background and history of MTDs within the Commonwealth. In 2020, the General Assembly passed new legislation (HB 882) that will pave the way for tighter constraints and hopefully more streamlined processes for approving MTDs for implementation. Our panel consisted of Tim Stromberg from Stromberg/Garrigan and Associates (S/GA), Mike Barbachem from Whitman Requardt & Associates LLP (WRA), and Yuya Ishizuka from Contech ES. These experts discussed the challenges of selecting and installing MTDs in the Coastal Plain where the high-water table and recurrent flooding can affect the performance of the MTDs. Other common issues are the costs and unknowns of maintenance and sizing issues associated with MTDs, which Dean Baddorf (Contech ES) covered in the concluding presentation.
Suggestions provided for the future of MTDs are to develop scalable and modular devices that are easy to maintain, reproducible, and standardized. Most workshop participants would also like to see MTDs receive Chesapeake Bay Program TMDL credit for pollutant reductions, presuming a reliable testing and verification program is developed. The national Stormwater Testing and Evaluation for Products and Practices (STEPP) program is developing protocols for verification and certification via Water Environment Federation (WEF). It would be ideal for the Chesapeake Bay Program to adopt this program upon completion.
The intent of the HRPDC Water Quality Technical Workgroup is to provide more detailed analysis of relevant water quality issues to the region. Through this workshop, we highlighted the importance of having proprietary BMPs as stormwater treatment options in Hampton Roads because some of the other BMPs that are available are not well-suited for the high water table conditions and flood risks that are characteristic of the coastal plain. Feedback from this workshop will lead to more informed discussions with Virginia’s DEQ and the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Urban Stormwater Workgroup. Achieving the goal of revising Chesapeake Bay policies to count MTDs in the Bay Model will more accurately track investments in water quality treatment and encourage innovation for improving water quality in coastal areas.