The Boeing Company, a panel of five internationally recognized surface water experts and representatives from conservation organizations will unveil a new biofiltration system Wednesday that harnesses natural processes to treat storm water runoff at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, a former rocket engine test and energy research site in the Simi Hills west of Chatsworth.
The new $600,000 biofilter uses natural settling, plant uptake, soil processes and specially designed filter media to capture sediment and pollutants before releasing cleaner water back into the watershed.
"Our new biofiltration system supports Boeing's overall strategy to use natural processes to treat storm water and is one component of the company's comprehensive surface water treatment programs," according to Paul Costa, environmental operations and compliance manager.
Boeing partnered with the L.A. Conservation Corps to plant native plants and collaborated with the Pollinator Partnership to ensure the landscape would support diverse pollinators.
The result is a biofilter that acts like a natural ecosystem and works this way:
- Stormwater runoff from a 4.5-acre parking lot is collected in a trench drain that flows into a buried concrete storage tank, which is located under the parking lot.
- Large debris and sand is trapped in the tank while the stormwater is pumped to a sedimentation basin where smaller silt particles settle.
- The stormwater then flows to a filter bed where plants, soil, and a specially designed filter media removes pollutants from the stormwater using natural physical, chemical, and biological processes.
- Water exits from the bottom of the biofilter into an outlet pipe (like a French drain) that discharges cleaner water to the nearby drainage.
- Native vegetation planted above the biofilter helps prevent storm water pollution, provides surface erosion control and soil aeration and promotes pollinator habitat.
The Surface Water Expert Panel was created in 2008 to offer technical expertise and help Boeing achieve water compliance standards. With input from the Panel, Boeing has implemented more than a dozen surface water improvement measures, including new sampling stations, pavement removal, erosion controls, culvert modifications, sediment basins soil removal, and channel modifications.
Other cleanup activities at Santa Susana include removing or treating 74,000 cubic yards -- enough to fill 4,625 dump trucks -- of contaminated soil; analyzing 50,000 soil bedrock and groundwater samples; installing 400 monitoring and extraction wells on and offsite; removing 400 buildings, tanks, test stands and structures; installing an advanced groundwater treatment system; replanting 900 acres of land with native vegetation; and reseeding the area with native plants and grasses.
For more information, visit www.boeing.com/santasusana.com.