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Elizabeth River Project:
Ryan Resilience Lab

Norfolk, VA: Fall 2023

Project Highlights: High Groundwater Table Application, Constructed Gravel Wetland BMP, Severe Salt Exposure, Urban Coastal Project Precedent, State Approved Non-Proprietary BMP

This dynamic project demonstrates that a RAFT urban BMP planter can perform in unfavorable conditions. The Ryan Resilience Lab is meant to be a living laboratory for urban coastal living and demonstrate built solutions for communities facing the growing impacts of climate change. Due to its high groundwater table, this coastal project site does not have ideal conditions for typical bioretention, but with a hybrid bioretention/wet swale design, the installation will be used to identify techniques suited to the conditions. In addition, the materials used by RAFT were designed to handle the area’s high salinity thanks to the superior corrosion resistance of FRP, 316 Stainless, and 5,000 psi precast concrete.

This 60 square foot RAFT urban BMP planter (3’W x 20’L x 4’D) is designed to capture and treat runoff from approximately 1,700 square feet of adjacent sidewalk and roadway. With such tough conditions, this planter was included as a voluntary BMP for the project, rather than a required feature to meet stormwater requirements. This allows it to serve as a living laboratory to study the specified 24” of loamy sand soil mix (VA DEQ guidelines of 85% Sand, 8% soil fines, and 3% organic matter) and the option to later test other BMP solutions such as constructed gravel wetlands.

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