Rx for Runoff Retention

Rainwater recharge system offers multiple benefits for Pennsylvania development for medical research facilities and doctors’ offices.

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Rainwater recharge system offers multiple benefits for Pennsylvania development for medical research facilities and doctors’ offices.

The Floral Vale development in Lower Makefield, PA, is a building complex designed primarily for doctors’ offices and medical research facilities. Originally started in 1990, the project is now in its third phase of construction, and engineers from Tri-State Engineers & Land Surveyors Inc., in the Philadelphia area, needed to design a stormwater management system to retain runoff from the five-acre development area.

Having considered several solutions, they chose a CULTEC underground system based on its quality, performance characteristics and cost-effectiveness. According to Jodi Litus, P.E., a project manager at Tri-State Engineers, the Recharger® V8 met the storage requirements and featured the best vertical unit height for the project.

In addition to complying with state and regional stormwater management guidelines and local township ordinances, the system needed to be configured to accommodate the site’s varying permeability. One part of the site featured very high and another part very low infiltration rates, and the company was able to configure the system to avoid the extreme permeability areas while still adequately collecting runoff from the site.

More than 500 Recharger chambers were installed in three beds, providing 53,650 cubic feet of storage. Two weeks before installation, Tri-State Engineers needed to add extra volume to address a reduction in infiltration due to an increased factor of safety, as requested by the Lower Makefield Township Environmental Advisory Council. CULTEC’s technical staff modified the shop drawings, and East Coast Associates, a manufacturers’ representative from Roseland, NJ, had the additional chambers shipped and helped reconfigure the footprint on-site.

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CULTEC underground system was selected for the Floral Vale development in Lower Makefield, PA, based on its performance, design flexibility and cost-effectiveness, as well as an ability to accommodate the site’s varying permeability areas.
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“CULTEC has a great system, which is easy to work with both in terms of design and actual installation,” said Litus. “We are also pleased that their people were so accessible throughout the entire process and promptly accommodated even minor design changes.”

Installation of the stormwater chambers took only a few days, and East Coast Associates was on-hand to help with the process. Production engineer Kelly Klipfel, who works with contractor Allan A. Myers, had never installed a CULTEC system before, but was pleased that it proved to be very easy to put together.

“We were very impressed at the ease of installation when working with the retention system,” said Klipfel. “The material is so light, one person can pick up and install a chamber.”

Specified for the project, the Recharger V8 chambers have over 40% greater storage capacity than CULTEC’s next largest model and can be used for retention, detention, recharging, or controlling the flow of on-site stormwater runoff. The chamber incorporates all the key benefits of the company’s chambers, including built-in end-walls for strength throughout the system and a patented, overlapping rib connection. The stormwater system uses the company’s unique internal manifold design that adds flexibility and decreases the required installation footprint. The internal manifold is achieved via two side portals located on each chamber, which allow manifolding to take place at any point within the system, eliminating the need to build external manifolds.


Brookfield, CT-based CULTEC Inc. is a national manufacturer of plastic chambers used in subsurface retention/detention stormwater management and septic applications. These systems help engineers and clients meet Phase II regulations of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water Act and can contribute to U.S. Green Building Council credits under the LEED rating system. Contact: www.cultec.com

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