Rethinking Swale and Filter Strip Design

swale photo   filtration swale photo


About the workshop:

Swales and filter strips are an important, but often overlooked, part of stormwater management and Low Impact Development. Being simple to construct, however, does not translate into minimal benefits. Swales "out-punch their weight" with respect to removal of certain pollutants. Recent research has led to new design guidance for swales that allows engineers and other designers to customize swale design to specific water quality goals, while still conveying needed flows. By making relatively simple adjustments to swale cross-section, length and grass height, swales can be very effective. This workshop will review the most innovative designs for swales. Design for urban areas will be emphasized.

Additionally, a new swale concept, the regenerative stormwater conveyance (RSC), which is a step pool conveyance system incorporating specially-designed media focused on nutrient removal, will be discussed. Recent research on these systems has shown potential hydrologic and water quality improvements.

As part of this workshop, attendees will need to bring laptops, as a simple swale design model (SwaleMod) will be distributed and demonstrated. You can also download SwaleMod by clicking this link.

The training will be from 9:00am to 5:00pm (registration at 8:30am). Download an Agenda by clicking here.

The Washington DC workshop is co-sponsored by:

University of the District of Columbia, Center for Sustainable Development
College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES)



Workshop Dates/Locations:

December 17, 2014, Raleigh
James B. Hunt, Jr. Library, NCSU Centennial Campus
1070 Partners Way
Raleigh, NC 27695

The December 17 workshop in Raleigh is full and registration is closed.


March 2, 2015, Washington, DC (download a flyer here)
University of the District of Columbia - David Clarke School of Law
Bldg. 52, Room LL108
4340 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20008

Click here to REGISTER ONLINE for Washington DC.


May 22, 2015, Raleigh, NC
NCSU Weaver Laboratories, Rm #125
3110 Faucette Drive
Raleigh, NC 27695

Click here to REGISTER ONLINE for Raleigh.



8:30 am Registration
9:00 Welcome; Overview of Swales and Filter Strips & Review of "Old" Design Guidance & Pollutant Removal Credits
  Swale and Filter Strip Research from North Carolina and Beyond
  "Old Hat" Swale Design – Flow Conveyance
10:45 Break
11:00 Designing Swales & Filter Strips for Pollutant Removal using the Aberdeen Equation
12:15 pm Lunch (provided)
1:00 NCDENR Summary of Design Changes
  Demonstration of the SwaleMod Spreadsheet Tool
  Sneak Peak into future Swale Enhancements (Check Dams, Bioswales)
2:05 pm Break

Regenerative Stormwater Conveyance (Big Fancy Swales)
Download the following powerpoint files in pdf format by clicking the individual links below.

  Review of Swale & Filter Strip Maintenance
  Open Q&A (15 min)
4:15 Sustainability Projects at the University of the District of Columbia (DC workshop only)
5:00 pm Adjourn


Continuing Education:

6 Professional Development Hours (PDHs) are available for professional engineers and surveyors, approved by the NC Board of Examiners for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors. 6 CEUS are approved by the American Society of Landscape Architects. 5.5 CEUs have been approved by the NC Board of Landscape Architects, Course #10032. 5.25 credit hours are approved by the American Planning Association for AICP members - event #e.26276.


  • Bill Hunt, PhD, PE, NC State University, Dept. of Biological & Agricultural Engineering
  • Ryan Winston, PE, NCSU - BAE
  • Andrew Anderson, EIT, NCSU - BAE
  • Adrienne Cizek, Grad Student - NCSU - BAE

Who Should Attend

  • Engineers, Landscape Architects, Plan Reviewers, Regulators/Government Officials, and other professionals

Workshop Fees

Early bird: $150
Regular: $200

Early bird fees apply if registering at least 2 weeks in advance of the workshop date. Within 2 weeks, regular fees apply.
Fees include break service, lunch and workshop materials.

We accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express or check. If paying by check, make your check payable to NCSU-BAE. Mail your check and copy of your registration form to:
Campus Box 7625
Raleigh, NC 27695
Attn: Christina Shepard

Hotel Suggestions for Raleigh:

Holiday Inn Express, 3741 Thistledown Dr, Raleigh, NC 27606
(919) 854-0001

Double Tree by Hilton, 1707 Hillsborough St, Raleigh, NC 27605
(919) 828-0811

Hotel Suggestions for Washington DC:

Days Inn, 4400 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008; 202-244-5600
The Days Inn is 2 blocks away from UDC and the Van Ness Metro.

Contact Julia Fiore or Christina Shepard for questions about registration: or 919-515-6780 or 919-513-2192