Blue Heron Ultraviolet Stormwater Management System case study


Courtesy of

Horry County Engineering Department
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA

Even a single day of beach closure has a major impact on the tourist-dependent economy of beach communities. To reduce beach closures in Myrtle Beach, HDR used ultraviolet (UV) light to treat stormwater runoff to reduce pathogens prior to discharge to the ocean. The system uses disinfection technology in a new way that bears potential application as a way to keep public beaches open more days every year. HDR performed system design and engineering, field sampling and testing, construction administration, and operational protocol development and monitoring services for the Blue Heron Ultraviolet Stormwater Treatment System.

Most communities rely on a combination of public education and regulatory controls, which have proven only moderately effective. The Blue Heron system supplements these traditional methods with a chemical-free and essentially maintenance-free process to eliminate bacteria in water by pumping contaminated water through a tank that houses 40 high-intensity lamps (and a UV dosage of over 30,000 uWs/cm2) that effectively kills bacteria. As a first-of-a-kind project, the Blue Heron UV Stormwater Treatment System has demonstrated the feasibility of using the time-tested technology of UV treatment on a stormwater outlet to the Atlantic Ocean.

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