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This fact sheet is one of a 15-part series on urban stormwater management practices.
Please refer to definitions in the glossary at the end of this fact sheet. Glossary terms are italicized on first mention in the text. For a comprehensive list, see Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) publication 426-119, “Urban Stormwater: Terms and Definitions.”
A dry swale (DS) is a shallow, gently sloping channel with broad, vegetated, side slopes. Water flow is slowed by a series of check dams (see figure 1). A DS provides temporary storage, filtration, and infiltration of stormwater runoff. Dry swales function similarly to bioretention, and are comparable to wet swales; however, unlike a wet swale, a DS should remain dry during periods of no rainfall. A DS is an engineered best management practice (BMP) that is designed to reduce pollution through runoff reduction and pollutant removal and is part of a site’s stormwater treatment practice (see figure 2).
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March 5, 2020