The Importance of Bioretention Systems

Urban areas are one of the most ideal places for better stormwater management practices. Loaded with impervious surfaces, such as parking lots, median strips, islands and more, commercial landscapes become a highway for deposited pollutants to runoff the lot bombarding surrounding soils with contaminates. These contaminates – such as heavy metals, oils, sediment, and even trash – then contaminate our creeks and streams making it the third largest pollution source for lakes and the leading source for estuaries. By implementing a bioretention system, you can filter these pollutants out and slow stormwater runoff, reducing and improving runoff quality in a natural, aesthetically pleasing manner.

How bioretention works:

Do you remember science class back in junior high when you created a water purification project using a water bottle, fine sand, course sand, some pebbles and a coffee filter at the end? A bioretention is much the same concept with a few minor added details.

These shallow depressions in the landscape are designed to mimic pollutant removal mechanisms within our forested ecosystems that slow and treat stormwater runoff. Consisting of multiple removal mechanisms, each with a designated role, the bioretention area will intercept water running off your parking lot by slowing it down and catching the various pollutants it has brought along with it. Mechanisms such as a sand bed for filtration, uptake by vegetation, a shallow ponding area, soil particles and mulch will help filter the pollutants out and allow the water to evenly distribute into the surrounding soil.

The last step in the process consists of a perforated pipe that lies beneath the filters. This allows treated water to drain slowly and reduce the amount of water spilling into receiving waterways.

Bioretention Basin














Advantages of a bioretention system:

There are many benefits to adding a bioretention to your property! Some of them include:

  • The flexibility of a design layout allows it to be readily implemented into green spaces, streetscapes, median strips and parking islands.
  • The provide stormwater volume control.
  • They utilize a native forest ecosystem structure and landscape processes to enhance stormwater quality.
  • They are efficient in the removal of sediments, heavy metals, and nutrients the impact water quality.
  • They are relatively low maintenance and cost effective.

While bioretention areas are low maintenance by design, they are not no maintenance. And, many times, you can be cited for not properly maintaining these areas. Don’t let this happen to you! We provide bioretention maintenance that includes trash removal, weeding and plant/tree trimming, as well as mulch replacement, soil aeration and plant replacement when necessary! Our certified stormwater best management practices inspection and maintenance professional manages and submits all of the needed inspections and annual reports to the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District for you. We can keep these areas working properly and help you achieve a greener way of doing business.

Let Us Manage Your Bioretention Areas! We can help you properly install and maintain your bioretention systems. Give us a call at 314-770-2828 or use our simple contact form to discuss your sustainability needs.



Bioretention Basins. (n.d.). Retrieved from Lake Superior Streams:

Bowers, S. D. (n.d.). Bioretention as a Water Quality. Biohabitats, 26-28.

Davis, C.-h. H. (NOVEMBER 2005). Evaluation and Optimization of Bioretention Media. JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING © ASCE, 1521. Retrieved from,%20131(11),%202005.pdf

Public Works Department. (2013). Retrieved from City of Columbia Missouri:

Storm Water Technology Fact Sheet Bioretention. (1999, September). Retrieved from National Association of City Transportation Officials:

Stormwater Management Fact Sheet: Bioretention. (n.d.). Retrieved from Stormwater Manager’s Resource Center: