Assessing the feasibility of soil infiltration trenches for highway runoff control on the Island of Oahu, Hawaii

Martina Sobotkova, Jaromir Dusek, Ghasem Alavi, Laxman Sharma, Chittaranjan Ray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The coastal waters of Hawaii are extremely important for recreation as well as for the health of the marine environment. Non-point source pollution from storm runoff poses a great threat to surface water quality in Hawaii. The State of Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) includes infiltration trenches as a best management practice (BMP) option to reduce pollution caused by stormwater runoff. HDOT guidelines state that the implementation of BMPs is needed to reduce sediment and pollutant loads to streams and the ocean. In this study, the suitability of soils adjacent to highways on Oahu for the siting of infiltration trenches was examined. In addition to field surveys and in-situ tests, laboratory investigations on soil properties, infiltration experiments on undisturbed soil columns, and mathematical modeling of hydraulic functioning of the infiltration trench were conducted. Dissolved metal concentrations in highway stormwater runoff were observed to exceed the groundwater environmental action levels for all heavy metals tested, but the soils had high sorption capacity for these metals. The results of the simulations indicated that all the sampled Oahu soils, with one exception, would require less than two hours to drain a filled hypothetical trench. Therefore, these soils are suitable for construction of infiltration trenches as a possible BMP, even when clogging of soil is considered in the simulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1832
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 12 2018


  • Best management practice
  • Clogging
  • Coastal pollution
  • Highway stormflow runoff
  • Infiltration trench
  • Laboratory infiltration experiment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Biochemistry
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology


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