How to create a clean water alley, Part 2

In Part 1, we showed the initial steps in constructing the infiltration and bio-swale. Part 2 illustrates the complex choreography of marrying the infiltration trench and the bio-swale.

The majority of water entering the Paseo will be directed to the bio-swale, which will filter and allow water to infiltrate the soil and migrate to the infiltration trench.  To maintain the function of the infiltration trench, we need to prevent soil from the bio-swale from filling in the voids and gaps. A geotextile – a tightly woven material – both helps prevent soil from moving into the infiltration trench and allow water to move into the trench.

The crew placed a layer of geotextile on top of the base layer of gravel and marked it to indicate where the edges of the infiltration trench and the bio-swale met.  One side will have soil and the other will have gravel.

The challenge when backfilling the trench with gravel and the swale with soil is to maintain the vertical edge of the geotextile. To achieve the vertical profile of the geotextile, the crew placed plywood on edge to create a vertical guide. On one side of the plywood, a course of bio-retention soil was placed, then the geotextile that lay in place on the trench was “flipped over” the plywood guide to ‘cover’ the bio-soil layer and a course of gravel was spread out, then the geotextile was ‘flipped over’ the course of gravel and a layer of bio-soil spread out.

This sequence continued until the heights of the bio-soil and the gravel met the desired elevation points. The crew started in the center of the Paseo and worked out toward either ends of the Paseo. Kudos to the Paseo’s Field Superintendent Jose Esquivel, American Landscape, who masterfully choreographed the complicated logistics required for the delivery of gravel and soil and the work of spreading the materials.

To be continued next week.

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