State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2011NJ273B
Title: An Investigation of the Water Quality of Rainwater Harvesting Systems
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2011
End Date: 2/29/2012
Congressional District: NJ-006
Focus Categories: Water Quality, Toxic Substances, Methods
Principal Investigators: Bakacs, Michele; Haberland, Mike (Rutgers University Cooperative Extension)
Federal Funds: $ 20,000
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 40,000
Abstract: Many homeowners and community gardeners harvest rooftop runoff to irrigate vegetable crops without sampling the water for contaminates. Studies have shown that roof runoff can have high levels of pathogens, zinc, lead, and hydrocarbons. This study will examine levels of four contaminants in rain water draining off asphalt shingled roofs and collected by rain barrels; polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), lead, zinc, and total coliform. In addition, we will investigate whether there is a significant difference between levels of contaminants draining roofs in different land uses, specifically, suburban verses urban communities. The results of this research will help to develop guidelines for water testing, interpreting results, and best management practices for applying harvested rain water to backyard and community gardens.

Progress/Completion Report, 2011, PDF

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