UK - GOING WAY BEYOND EUROPE
Estadio Paquito Montaner Baseball Park and Stadium in Ponce,
Puerto Rico, is home to a league of seven baseball teams
and is used for winter training by many United States Major
League Baseball players. The park is also a track-and-field
complex where different interuniversity sports activities
are held during the year. Constructed in the 1930s, the
stadium is designated as a historic facility in Puerto Rico.
However, drainage problems at the park were resulting in
the possible withdrawal of the winter baseball-training
schedule by the major leagues, a crucial financial liability
for the park.
effectively continue use of the facilities, improvements
were needed to the stormwater management and drainage system
that would keep the playing fields and track in usable condition
after a rain. These improvements were included in a planned
renovation and expansion of the facility, which involves
a complete construction of a new track and field area and
other athletic facilities.
Toward a New Solution
first priority for the design engineer, Jose Rafael Bernabe
Acuna, P.E., of JRBA Consulting Mechanical Engineers in
San Juan, was to eliminate the flooding possibility at the
park. To do so, he moved the storm drain connection and
reconnected the discharge of the existing storm sewer system
to another point in the line. This would prevent the park
and its operation from being directly affected if the system
started to flood. Acuna then began to explore options for
an efficient and effective storage system for the facility.
an effort to avoid future system failure and to eliminate
the potential financial hardship of game and event cancellations
at the park, Acuna advocated and searched for a new approach.
His goal was to find a solution that would incorporate advanced
technology and the latest stormwater management design methods.
subsurface chamber system design was chosen to drain the
field faster and more effectively and offer a longer life
span than an old-fashioned trench-and-pipe installation.
The documented longevity of the performance of this type
of system convinced park management it would not have to
renovate the stormwater management system again for decades,
state-of-the-art stormwater management system Acuna
designed self-drains and then discharges to the storm
sewer once the rain event is over. The system uses
2,600 StormTech SC-310 chambers under the baseball
park for general drainage of the stadium. A municipal
grant funded most of the design and installation of
the system, supplemented with a small amount of federal
funding that helped pay for the park renovation.
chambers were selected because, when used in a bed system,
they provide managed infiltrated runoff over a wide area.
“The StormTech SC-310s are ideal for low-rise, wide-span
solutions because they create more infiltrative surface
area. They also provide more void space to store and infiltrate
water than the outdated stone and pipe trench drain technique,”
notes Alberto Davila of Sani-Plant in San Juan, the Puerto
Rican distributor for StormTech chambers. The system is
designed so that water drains directly through the upper
soil level and infiltrates into the StormTech chambers without
catch basins or inlet structures. Instead of an inlet, the
engineer designed for a 6-in. layer of highly permeable
sand for the root zone of the grass and 12 in. of stone
above the chambers. Water is detained, allowing optimum
groundwater recharge and outlet to the municipal drain system.
A product with a large infiltrative footprint, such as the
smaller StormTech chamber, was the most effective for the
stadium because the area’s soils have poor infiltration
the developers wanted to ensure that the system would drain
between rain events, the storage capacity of the system
was kept at its fullest. “This was a concern because
athletic fields are fertilized, and when it rains, the runoff
can suspend and carry harmful pesticides off-site,”
Acuna says. With the chambers being used and inlet through
permeable sands, these pollutants have a chance to go through
a filtration process inherently provided by the upper soil
layer. While the system is outlet to a municipal system,
StormTech chambers allow a good portion of runoff to infiltrate
again through foundation soils, providing additional treatment.
gold-colored chambers reflect the hottest spectrum of the
sun’s energy, so they remained cool in Puerto Rico’s
hot sun. This allowed the installers to work faster and
also provided a structural benefit. Typical black plastic
construction products can reach temperatures close to 200êF
when exposed to intense sunlight. Thermoplastics, especially
polyethylene, can lose a significant amount of their structural
integrity while at elevated temperatures. The wide expanse
of this project required heavy equipment to travel across
the bed before it was fully covered. Black plastic products
are most vulnerable during these conditions, and special
precautions sometimes are required. StormTech’s chambers,
designed with AASHTO required safety factors and manufactured
from yellow virgin polypropylene, kept their cool under
these extreme conditions. Work continued throughout the
day without any costly delays. Approximately 62,000 ft.2
of playing field and adjacent area use the subsurface chambers
for drainage. “Since the installation, there have
been no game cancellations, even when there was a rain event
an hour before the scheduled game start time,” Davila
says. “Not only does the park drain, but the field
is dry in a very short period of time.” This new stadium
stormwater management design is being used as a pilot project,
with other stadiums looking at this project as a potential
model to copy.
were all impressed by the ease of the installation,”
Acuna remarks. “The installing contractor, Rama Construction
of Ponce, Puerto Rico, was able to unload and install one
full trailer load every four hours with a small crew of
these chambers are not inlets with traditional catch basins
or yard drains, there are no maintenance requirements. The
runoff is being collected from a vegetated athletic field
without slopes, so sediments are not carried away or accumulated.
With this type of inlet design in this application, the
chambers should be virtually maintenance-free.
Buttfield Road, Howden,
Tel: 01430 430529.
Fax: 01430 432084
Contact: David Axup.