Town of Okotoks: All-Natural Storm Water Filtration System

The Town of Okotoks in partnership with the Source 2 Source Environmental Design and Engineering, the University of Calgary (U of C), and the Bow River Basin Council (BRBC) are implementing an innovative riparian bio-retention storm water management system and research project at the Town of Okotoks Operations Centre.

The construction of the new Operations buildings provided the Town an opportunity to manage storm water runoff generated by the impervious surfaces at the site using a new absorbent landscape system. This demonstration site will manage water run-off, through green infrastructure. The goal is to improve the water quality and quantity of the discharged water. This all natural bio-retention system will utilize native plants and permeable soils to treat and manage the storm water.

Bio-retention systems can capture, filter, and gradually release water, which prevents excess nutrients and other potentially harmful substances from entering the rivershed. Riparian bio-retention systems can also provide a buffering effect which can reduce the risks of flood and drought; increase soil stability, water filtration and storage; and enhance natural aesthetics using native vegetation cover.

The U of C and the BRBC, through a post-graduate monitoring project, will be evaluating the ability of the site to remove contaminates from the Operations yard storm water. Rick Quail, Chief Administrative Officer for the Town of Okotoks said “the research and education site will be ideally located beside the Town’s new Interpretive Centre, located within the soon-to-be-built Operations Administration Building, and will be a highlight of the Centre’s indoor and outdoor learning spaces”.

The first phase of construction, which houses the majority of the riparian bio-retention site, will commence in late May 2015, with an estimated completion date of early September 2015. Phase two, which consists of the U of C test beds and landscaping beside the Administration building, will be constructed in the spring of 2016.

For more information on this and what else the Town of Okotoks is doing towards sustainability click here.