Del Mar Fairgrounds Tidal Wetland Restoration
March 23, 2020
Adams County Parks, Open Space, and Trails Master Plan
February 15, 2021
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Del Mar Fairgrounds Constructed Wetlands


Quick Facts:

  • Nutrients Removed: 50-75% from effluent
  • Watershed: San Dieguito
  • Wetland Capacity: 6,683m3

Project Summary:

Great Ecology was part of an interdisciplinary team led by Fuscoe Engineering to tackle the challenge of treating surface water runoff from the Del Mar Fairgrounds to meet Regional Board discharge requirements. The full stormwater treatment facility includes backstretch conveyance infrastructure, lift stations, a settling (East) pond, a constructed wetlands system (West Pond), and a wastewater treatment facility. Great Ecology provided planting plans and oversight for the East Pond and designed the West Pond constructed treatment wetlands that will efficiently remove nutrients from effluent prior to it entering the wastewater treatment facility by promoting different nutrient cycling processes in an optimal sequence.

The design team understood that different removal processes are optimized in different types of constructed wetlands in a certain order. The constructed wetlands system therefore promotes phosphorus removal and one part of the nitrogen cycle in a vertical flow wetland, then continuation of the nitrogen cycle and nutrient uptake in soils and vegetation in a free-water surface wetland. Effluent can be reintroduced into the system to maximize nutrient removal to help meet regulatory limits. The system is estimated to remove between 50% and 75% of nutrients from effluent and will be run at a significant cost savings to the Fairgrounds compared to non-ecologically-based systems. The constructed wetlands system is also visually appealing, which is important given its prominent location on the Del Mar racetrack. Construction of the wetlands will be completed in 2020.


Del Mar, CA