Reducing Stormwater Runoff Volumes with Biochar Addition to Highway Soils

Through funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), the project recently constructed and instrumented a section of highway roadway soils at the intersection of state route 896 and Bethel Church Road in Summit Bridge, DE. One stretch of roadway soils was amended with biochar, while an adjacent control section was not. In-ground sampling trenches upgradient and downgradient from the test sections are used to quantify the stormwater runoff from each section and the nutrients in the runoff: thus, we are documenting the direct effect of biochar on reducing stormwater runoff and reducing concentrations of nutrients (nitrogen compounds) in the runoff. This field site will be operated for the next 1-1.5 years, quantifying the effect of biochar-amended highway soils on reducing stormwater runoff and improving runoff quality. In this Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT) at University of Delaware (UD) project, a disc infiltrometer will be used at monthly intervals to track the time-varying soil infiltration capacity, which the project will increase with time as biochar alters microbial communities. Concurrently, soil samples will be extracted and microbiological tools used to assess changes in microbial communities, and soil aggregation will also be quantified in these samples using standard soil analysis methods. Reductions in stormwater runoff data from the NFWF project will be paired with water infiltration, microbial assay, and soil aggregation data collected from this project. Combined, these data will allow us to understand the mechanism(s) by which biochar reduces stormwater volume, which is critical for extrapolating the results from this field test to longer time periods and other highway soils.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $140048
  • Contract Numbers:



  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    University Transportation Centers Program
    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation

    Rutgers University
    100 Brett Road
    Piscataway, NJ  United States  08854-8058
  • Project Managers:

    Szary, Patrick

    Mattejat, P

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Delaware, Newark

    Department of Civil Engineering
    301 DuPont Hall
    Newark, DE  United States  19716
  • Principal Investigators:

    Imhoff, Paul

    Maresca, Julia

  • Start Date: 20160901
  • Expected Completion Date: 20181231
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01613006
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT13-G-UTC28, CAIT-UTC-NC44
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Oct 7 2016 9:34AM