Globeville Landing Stream Restoration & Outfall Ecological Design
October 1, 2019
San Dieguito Lagoon Wetland Restoration
March 23, 2020

Del Mar Fairgrounds Treatment Wetland

Del Mar, CA

Great Ecology was part of an interdisciplinary team led by Fuscoe Engineering to tackle a unique challenge of treating surface water runoff from areas of the Del Mar Fairgrounds where animals are housed. Stormwater leaving the Fairgrounds and entering the nearby San Dieguito Lagoon was not meeting regulatory thresholds for bacteria, nutrients, metals, and other constituents. Committed to environmental stewardship, the Fairgrounds worked cooperatively with regional stakeholders to develop and permit an innovative stormwater treatment system that ensured regulatory thresholds for water quality standards would be met.
As part of this project, Great Ecology and Fuscoe designed an innovative constructed treatment wetland that replaced existing water features within the Fairground’s racetrack. Stormwater from the site is collected into a settling pond and then passively conveyed to a treatment wetland where aquatic vegetation removes metals, nitrogen, and phosphorus from water and sediments. The final stage is a wastewater treatment facility that “polishes” bacteria from the water and gages water quality. Stormwater can then be re-circulated through the system to maximize nutrient removal or released into nearby waterways to reduce the overall system volume once regulatory thresholds are met. 
Aesthetic design of the treatment wetlands was a key factor to the project’s success given the Del Mar Fairgrounds’ visibility to millions of visitors who come to enjoy equestrian shows and other events. 

Utilizing Vertical & Horizontal Flow

Designing a treatment wetland system that features both vertical and horizontal flow wetlands in an optimal sequence was an ideal design solution given the limited space within the Fairgrounds. Combined with proper maintenance and plant harvesting, this treatment wetland system removes 50% - 75% of nutrients from effluent.

Ongoing Adaptive Management

Great Ecology continues to provide post-implementation monitoring and maintenance of the system to ensure optimal performance. This includes occasional harvesting of aquatic vegetation within the system to both maintain aesthetic appeal and “reset” the treatment wetland for continued nutrient extraction.

Awards & Features

Wetlands Project Award Category

2018 AEP Merit Award

Outstanding Innovation in Green Planning & Design

$15 Million Water Quality Project Opens

Before & After