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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).
Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.
Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.
September 6, 2013