The use of decentralised, sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS) for the treatment of stormwater runoff is becoming increasingly prevalent in Germany. Decentralised SUDS can offer a viable and attractive alternative to end of pipe treatment systems for stormwater runoff from urban areas. However, there is still some uncertainty regarding the long-term performance of SUDS, and the general legislative requirements for SUDS approval and testing. Whilst the allowable pollution levels in stormwater runoff that infiltrate into ground and/or water table are regulated across Germany by the Federal Soil Protection Law, there is presently no federal law addressing the discharge requirements for surface water runoff. The lack of clear guidance can make it difficult for planners and designers to implement these innovative and sustainable stormwater treatment systems. This study clarifies the current understanding of urban stormwater treatment requirements and new technical approval guidelines for decentralised SUDS devices in Germany. The study findings should assist researchers, designers and asset managers to better anticipate and understand the performance, effective life-spans, and the planning and maintenance requirements for decentralised SUDS systems. This should help promote even greater use of these systems in the future.
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