Journal of Environmental Treatment Techniques 2015, Volume 4, Issue 4, Pages: 170-172
Controlling Stormwater Runoff Pollution Best Practices of Green
Highway Developments
Muhd Zaimi Abd Majid
, Yao Bigah
, Ali Keyvanfar
, Arezou Shafaghat
*, Jahangir Mirza
, Hesam Kamyab
1- Construction Research Center (CRC), Institute for Smart Infrastructure and Innovative Construction (ISIIC), Department
of Structures and Materials, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Skudai, Johor, 81310, Malaysia
2- Institute of Environmental and Water Resource Management (IPASA), Faculty of Civil Engineering, Universiti
Teknologi Malaysia, Johor, 81310, Malaysia
Received: 11/010/2015 Accepted: 28/11/2015 Published: 30/12/2015
1- Introduction
Green highway development is a new concept which
emerged last decade in developed countries. It steers
toward construction and implementation of sustainable
highways to minimize and control the environmental
impact, while aiming to boost social and economic
suitability. Bryce [1] suggested that green highways
should embrace more sustainable practices and maximize
the highway lifetime than current construction
technology and put forth watershed-driven stormwater
runoff management. Several attempts have been made in
developed countries to set green highway features in
order to protect natural water resources [1-4].
Among the objectives stated in Malaysian’s 10th
Master Plan 2011-2015 [5] reducing water resources
pollution and providing quality water to an urban
population that is expected to grow over 70% of the total
population, is a major concern of the government.
Furthermore, develop a long-term strategy for water
resource management is a priority in Malaysia where
more than 90% of water supply is from rivers and lakes.
As a matter of fact, highway/roads have been identified
as potential threat sources to water quality, and
developed countries are moving forward in curbing
highway-related water pollution through the
establishment of highway assessment framework. With
regard to the growing impetus of sustainable culture
along with the Low Impact Development (LID), the
study aimed to investigate the Best Management
Practices (BMPs) on prevention and control of highway
Stormwater runoff pollution.
Highway development Best Management Practices
(BMPs) techniques are environmentally sensitive designs
which tend to generate less runoff, promoting infiltration
and reducing runoff from developed areas. The variety of
techniques used, non- structural and structural
techniques, are economical and flexible [6]. New Jersey
Stormwater Best Management Practices Manual [7]
states the impossibility of sole non-structural practices to
fulfill Stormwater runoff regulations is. LID is anchored
in the concept that Stormwater must not be considered as
a waste to quickly be discharged and that opportunities in
Corresponding author: Arezou Shafaghat, Construction
Research Center (CRC), Institute for Smart
Infrastructure and Innovative Construction (ISIIC),
Department of Structures and Materials, Faculty of Civil
Engineering, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Skudai,
Johor, 81310, Malaysia. E-mail:
developed lands must be used to control runoff closed to
their sources as possible (US NRDC, 2011).
2- Structural Best Management Practices
Structural BMPs can be sorted in many ways;
Georgia Stormwater Management Manual- GSWMM [8]
distinguishes two categories of structural BMPs, namely
those of general application and the ones with limited
application, while NJ-SWBMP [7] classifies them by
functionality. Most of the structural BMPs are
determined by the site control requirements and
guideline. Hence, in this paper the functional
classification is adopted. Stormwater management
techniques are:
a. Rain Gardens/Bioretention and
Bioswales/Vegetated Swales
b. Vegetated/Grassed Filter Strip: It can effectively
aid to remove pollutants from the overland flow
c. Permeable Pavement adapted with infiltration flat
d. Constructed Filter
e. Wet Ponds/Retention Basins
f. Detention Basins
g. Constructed Wetland
h. Buffer Strip
3- Non-Structural Best Management
NJ SWBMP [7] classifies non-structural practices to:
time of concentration modifications, minimizing land
disturbance, vegetation and landscaping, and impervious
area management.
a. Time of Concentration Modifications: NJ SWBMP
[7] identifies three factors influencing the time of
concentration (Tc) of the runoff, that is, the surface
roughness, the slope, and the type of conveyance of the
runoff. To increase the Tc and hence minimize peak
flow, care must be taken, to reduce surface roughness
changes to reduce the sheet flow slope (decrease the
slope and increase the flow length using terraces to
provide additional travel time and reduced slope
channels), and to use vegetated conveyance such as
channels and swales, grade stabilization structures [7].
b. Minimization of Land Disturbance: The
apportionment of land use is one main factor influencing
pollutants load in Stormwater runoff; subdivision of land
use can help prevent drinking water contamination and
ground water recharge [9]. Identify and assess site
constraints such us slope, soil type, drainage area,
wetland, floodplain, in order to minimize site clearing,
Journal weblink:
J. Environ. Treat. Tech.
ISSN: 2309-1185
Journal of Environmental Treatment Techniques 2015, Volume 4, Issue 4, Pages: 170-172
grading and other land disturbance by fitting the project
into the site instead of the reverse case [7].
c. Vegetation and Landscaping: Preservation of
Natural Areas; Areas such as forests, riparian corridors,
and high groundwater or aquifer recharge capabilities
must be preserved and specified measure should be taken
to ensure that such areas will remain preserved in the
future. Native Ground Cover; The practices here include,
the minimization of site disturbance, lawn and grass
areas, and r-vegetate disturbed areas using essentially
native plants. Vegetative filters and Buffers.
d. Impervious Area Management: According to NJ
SWBMP [7] an indicator of stream health in a watershed
is cited by several studies as impervious areas. To control
Stormwater runoff pollution, the use to the maximum
extent possible of pervious materials within parking
spaces, driveways, access roadways, sidewalks to
disconnect impervious areas from one another is the goal
to attain [7].
Reduce runoff and associated pollutants to adjacent
Reduce thermal impacts in reducing the quantities of
pollutants in typical water resources by allowing
infiltration of surface highway runoff that are discharged
into adjacent water resources. The water, filtration of
pollutants, or other methods to treat pollutants include
sediment, oil and grease, chemicals such as deicing salts
stormwater runoff, and pesticides, litter and trash, and
metals. In this regards, Table 1 identifies the Synopsis of
BMPs, their function, potential applications and
efficiency in pollutants removal.
A structured fixed format self-reporting
questionnaire form was designed based on 5-point likert
scale (1: strongly disagree, to, 5: strongly agree) to
obtain the agreement level of respondents from 22
companies and 109 consultants in highway engineering.
The research has applied the Average Index method
(developed by Abd Majid and McCaffer [10]) which
provides means of validation of a criterion. The Average
or the Mean Index of a criterion is evaluated using the
following Equation:
Average/Mean Index =
Where, a = constant, weighing factor for i, {i = 1, 2,
3.........n}, Xi = frequency of respondent. The analysis
result shows that respondents have agreed to the
combination of both nonstructural and structural BMPs
to control SWRQ as each of them scores higher than 3.5
average indexes. Specifically, the non-structured scores
3.78 while the structured is agreed at 3.77 level.
According to Table 1, most significant elements are
vegetation and landscaping, Runoff Quality/Peak Rate
BMPs, and minimize land disturbance which score
respectively (3.88; 3.85; and 3.83). On the other hand,
the less significant elements are identified as impervious
area management, restoration BMPs, and time of
concentration modifications which have the same
average index of 3.71.
Table 1: Average Index value analysis result of Best Management Practices
Average Index
Vegetation and Landscaping (use native Ground Cover, Vegetative filters and Buffers)
Runoff Quality Rate
Minimize Land Disturbance (minimize site clearing and grading by fitting the project into the site)
Volume or peak reduction through filtration (Bio retention Trench, Vegetated Swale, Vegetated Filter Strip, Constructed Filter, etc.)
Impervious Area Management (reduce impervious surfaces and disconnect them from one another)
Time of concentration modifications
The runoff quality/peak rate BMPs is the only
structural BMPs to figure within the significant BMPs
capable of controlling runoff quality while two of the
non-structural BMPs are found significant for it. It is
therefore important during highway planning stage to
properly locate those structural BMPs which are runoff
quality/peak rate discharge structure so that they
efficiently fulfill the purpose of their existence. Their
efficiency depends on their capability to remove
pollutants from the runoff. Consequently they need to be
monitored and maintained to preserve their acceptable
level of functionality. This result is very significant and
consistent with the green highway criterion,
instrumentation and monitoring of storm water runoff
which is found significant. This result infers that instead
of directly discharging SWR into sanitary sewer systems,
it must be retained and treated using appropriate BMPs
to remove pollutants from it.
Regarding the significant non-structural BMPs
identified the non-structural practices will restrict the
hydromodification effect of highway on the SWRQ.
BMPs that can enable better control of SWRQ are
identified as a combination of non-structural and
structural BMPs which are equally important and include
from the most significant to the less significant:
a. Vegetation and Landscaping (use native
Ground Cover, Vegetative filters and Buffers);
b. Minimize Land Disturbance
The outcome of this study will provide, respective of
Malaysian environment, requirements against which
highway performance can be measured and consequently
provide means to construct highway development toward
more sustainable practices. According to mentioned
issues and problems, the current study aimed to identify
Best Management Practices (BMPs) that can achieve a
better quality of Stormwater runoff.
The following made for future studies:
Determine the specific needs from water
resources of various watershed in Malaysia in
order to design appropriate stormwater plan for
various zones;
Include a stormwater management plan as a
priority into the development of all areas since
the primary development stage in order to
efficiently management the post development;
Non-point source pollution discharge which has
been neglected over century by statutorily
regulations should be considered for better
control of storm pollution;
Monitoring and instrumentation of runoff is
primordial to achieve better control.
Journal of Environmental Treatment Techniques 2015, Volume 4, Issue 4, Pages: 170-172
The authors would like to thank the PAS grants vote
no. Q.J130000.2709.01K40 and Q.J130000.2709.01K41,
and GUP grants vote no. Q.J130000.2609.11J04 and
Q.J130000.2609.10J8, and MOSTI grant vote no. 4S123.
Also, the authors appreciate these organizations for their
support and contributions, TNCPI, and Research
Management Center at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.
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Transportation Infrastructure ASTM, WISE
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3- Illinois - Livable and Sustainable Transportation v.
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Transportation, Illinois.
4- Envision v2.0, (2012). A Rating System for
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