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Project ID: 2006DC78B

Title: Wet-Weather Flow Characterization for the Rock Creek through Monitoring and Modeling

Project Type: Research

Start Date: 03/01/2006

End Date: 02/28/2007

Congressional District: District of Columbia

Focus Categories: Surface Water, Non Point Pollution, Solute Transport

Keywords: water quality, urban stream, non point source pollution, storm sewer overflows, education

Principal Investigators: Behera, Pradeep K.; Adebayo, Abiose; Hirpassa, Wellela

Federal Funds: $15,000

Non-Federal Matching Funds: $4,420

Abstract: In spite of massive public investments in sewage and drainage infrastructure, pollution loading from wet-weather flows continues to have significant impacts on receiving waters. Trends in urbanizations, increased quantities of urban wet-weather flows and corresponding increase in pollution loadings discharged to receiving waters demand that wet-weather flow control systems be planned and engineered to effect higher levels of water quality control. For future investments in drainage infrastructure to be cost-effective, decisions in wet-weather flow control systems planning must be made within a rigorous, comprehensive and systematic framework.

Similar to many older cities in the nation, the sewer system in the District of Columbia is comprised of both combined and separate sewer systems. It has recognized that these systems contribute significant pollution to the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers and Rock Creek through Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) and Storm Sewer discharges during wet-weather (i.e., rainfall and snowmelt) events. These overflows and associated pollutant loads can adversely impact the quality of the receiving waters. As per the District of Columbia water quality standards, the designated use of the Anacostia River, Potomac River and Rock Creek is Class A or suitable for primary contact recreation. Because the water quality in the receiving waters currently does not meet these standards much of the time, the actual use of the water body is Class B or suitable for secondary contact recreation and aquatic enjoyment. As a result, the District law prohibits primary contact recreation such as swimming in each of the receiving waters (DC WASA, 2002). To address these problems, the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (WASA) has developed a Long Term Control Plan (LTCP) that provides the alternative solutions and their implementation costs.

In order to support LTCP a continuous monitoring and modeling of the system is necessary not only to provide technical assessment but also to develop a cost-effective solution. In this regard, a long-term study has been proposed to characterize the Rock Creek wet-weather flows. Rock Creek is a free flowing urban stream located within a completely developed environment. The initial goal of the proposed study is to perform water resources engineering analysis and characterize the runoff quality in terms of pollution loads from CSOs and storm water discharges. The characterization will be very much helpful for the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) development as well as in the development of LTCP. Furthermore the characterization will meet the objective of Mid-Atlantic Regional water quality program.

The objective of this research proposal is to develop a complete proposal for further multi-year funding from federal and other relevant agencies. This grant will act as a seed grant for the future proposal and study.

Progress/Completion Report, PDF

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Maintained by: John Schefter
Last Updated: Friday, December 07, 2007
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