Practical tools and guidelines for the design and operation of SUDS

Practical tools and guidelines for the design and operation of SUDS

Research objectives

Although the concepts of sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS) are widely spread little knowledge is available regarding the required hydraulic achievements and removal efficiency of suds to achieve Dutch quality standards. Methods and guidelines are made about designing, building and maintaining SUDS to develop the implementation and prolong the lifespan of SUDS.

Project outline


New policy guidelines regarding the design and operation of urban drainage systems have brought several innovative systems in the Dutch municipalities for infiltration and purification of storm water. Therefore a database is filled with measurements throughout the country which is an effective tool to calculate the required removal efficiency of SUDS.


To evaluate if the quality standards can in fact be achieved not only theoretical models are used but several SUDS have been monitored and evaluated. Useful information is drawn from interviewing several organizations and persons that are occupied with designing, building and maintaining these SUDS which are translated into guidelines to prolong the lifespan of SUDS.


The first step is collect knowledge about the quality of stormwater in order to calculate the required performance of SUDS. A database is filled with over 600 measurements in Holland and more than 200 from nearby countries in Europe. The concentrations of several contaminants is documented as well as the particle size of suspended solids and the dissolved fractions of the contamination (see figures). The quality of rain water vary greatly but in general an indication of the run-off quality can be achieved by selecting the category of the connected area (industrial, municipal, commercial) as well as the use and maintenance of the area and the specific materials that are used on roofs and roads in the area. The documentation of these aspects are a very important input of the database to predict the input quality of SUDS. PAHs and heavy metals can be removed from rainwater relatively easy as they attach to some extend to (soil-)particles

With this output from the database the removal efficiency of SUDS in a specific area under several circumstances can be calculated.

Scientific relevance

There is a large variety of SUDS to choose from and scientific tools are missing to make a good decision. In interviews several organizations are asked which criteria are most important to determine the selection of SUDS, these are; removal efficiency, cost (building and maintenance), required space and experience.

The removal efficiency can be calculated with the database-tool. In a survey several cost of building and maintaining SUDS were collected. In the enquiry design standards are evaluated which indicate the amount off space that is necessary to achieve the required removal efficiency. And last but not least several experiences from designing, building and maintaining suds are gathered. Examples of successful implementations of SUDS are documented with the most important features to stimulate the use of SUDS.

Social Relevance

A good social implementation progress off innovative SUDS-concepts will improve the the lifetime of these systems. Good examples can help the implementation and can be relatively easy to find, but failing SUDS can be more educational. In this research a lot of effort has been given to find learning aspects of SUDS and translate them in to recommendations to increase the lifespan of these facilities under specific circumstances.


Kwaliteit van afstromend regenwater in Nederland wRw, 2002

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Boogaard F.C, Wentink R.; Monitoring van infiltratievoorzieningen, infiltratie van stedelijk regenwater breed toepasbaar in Nederland, RIONED informatief nr.12 02/2000

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Boogaard F.C, Jeurink N, Enschede evalueert functioneren wadi’s, Land en water

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STOWA, oktober 2007 databse regenwater, achtergrondrapport, rapport w09

Ir. Floris Boogaard