USGS Nebraska Water Science Center

Monitoring the Effectiveness of Bioretention Cells

Omaha Sewer Maintenance Facility

Bioretention Cell Design

At the Omaha Sewer Maintenance Facility, both a bioretention cell and permeable pavement were constructed to intercept, detain, and retain stormwater from the adjacent building and parking lot.


Water Balance

The water balance of this cell is measured using

  • precipitation,
  • surface inflow,
  • outflow through the infiltration trench,
  • outflow through the overflow,
  • evapotranspiration, and
  • the change in stored runoff.

Preliminary water balance results.

The remaining component of the water balance, infiltration, is being estimated as the residual of the water balance. In addition, the spatial characteristics of soil moisture are being monitored by an array of soil moisture probes nested at various depths and locations throughout the bioretention cell. This system is unique in that it consists of two interacting Best Management Practices (permeable pavement adjacent to bioretention cell) as well as the addition of monitoring equipment.

All of the components of the water balance were measured every 15 minutes during nonflow periods. Collected data were stored using electronic data loggers and transmitted in near real time to the USGS National Water Information System Web site (NWISWeb).

Available Data

Data are available through the USGS NWISweb: OSMF DATA