Briefing: sustainable drainage for sports pitch developments

Effective management of storm water is of paramount importance in urban development, and drainage design is usually governed by planning constraints. In the development of sports pitches, planning bodies often impose discharge constraints, and frequently class such areas as impermeable surfaces, thus treating their drainage behaviour in a similar fashion to roads and pavements, which may require the provision of separate attenuation. This briefing presents preliminary findings of a project to assess the drainage behaviour of sports pitch developments. The work undertaken to date suggests only a fraction of water falling on a pitch (rain) is discharged to the drains, identifying an apparent attenuation capacity and potential over-design within current sports pitch drainage systems. In addition to the low discharge volumes measured from pitch systems, there has also been a broad range of flow rates experienced. This led to the development of a bespoke flow monitoring device, FloPod. Designed and fabricated at Loughborough University, this device allows a broad range of flow rates to be measured without compromising aspects of data resolution and reliability – key factors that were not found in commercially available devices.