Remediating Compacted Urban Soils with Tillage and Compost.
Urban areas typically have a high degree of impervious surfaces—that is, roads, parking lots, rooftops, and other surfaces that impede the movement of water into the soil. In areas with 75 to 100% impervious surfaces—which is typical of urban development—more than 50% of rainfall typically becomes surface runoff. Stormwater runoff from urban areas creates many problems, including flash flooding, alteration of the temperature and aquatic habitat in streams, and contamination of lakes and rivers. Municipalities and developers use several stormwater management practices to mitigate the effects of runoff caused by urbanization. Current approaches focus on implementing strategies that allow more rainwater to infiltrate into the ground. Unfortunately, the soils in most residential developments have lower stormwater-infiltration capacity than the native soils they have replaced, because topsoil depth is reduced and subsoil compaction is increased as land is reshaped and worked with heavy equipment during development. A number of techniques are available to increase stormwater infiltration, including rain gardens, pervious pavements, and soil amendments. This article describes a collaborative research effort between the University of Minnesota and the Three Rivers Park District to quantify the effectiveness of two soil-remediation techniques to help increase infiltration of compacted soil caused by land development.
CURA Research Areas: