Living Soil Filtration Project

The Town of Okotoks, in partnership with Source 2 Source Environmental Design and Engineering, the University of Calgary (U of C), and the Bow River Basin Council (BRBC) are implementing an innovative riparian bioretention stormwater management system and research project at the Town of Okotoks Operations Centre.

The intent of this demonstration site is to manage excess water run-off from storm events, through green infrastructure, while improving the water quality and quantity of the discharged water. The riparian bioretention system will utilize the biogeochemical functionality of plants and permeable soils to treat and manage storm water.

Bioretention systems are capable of capturing, filtering, and gradually releasing water, cumulatively preventing excess nutrients and other potentially harmful substances from entering the surface waters of the Sheep River and causing negative environmental impacts downstream. Additionally, riparian bioretention systems provide a buffering effect on the hydrological regime, reducing the risks of flood and drought; increase soil stability, water filtration and storage; and enhance natural esthetics through increased native vegetation cover.

The U of C and the BRBC, through a ten year post-graduate monitoring project, will be evaluating the function and ability of the riparian bioretention site to remove contaminates from the Operations yard storm water. This regionally significant research and education site is ideally located adjacent to the Town’s new Interpretive Centre, located within new Operations Centre building, and will be notably featured within the Interpretive Centre’s indoor and outdoor learning spaces. There has been a lot of excitement and curiosity around this Interpretive Centre, and we are so excited to finally bring it to fruition.

The first phase of construction, which encompasses the majority of the riparian bioretention site, began in late May 2015, and was completed in September 2015. Phase two began in the spring of 2016, and includes the City of Calgary-funded University of Calgary test beds and landscaping, with the possibility of a natural garden feature in the future. 

What is watershed?

The new Interpretive Centre