Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2012NJ305B

Performance Assessment of Bioretention for Car Wash Runoff Treatment

Institute: New Jersey
Year Established: 2012 Start Date: 2012-03-01 End Date: 2013-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $15,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $30,000

Principal Investigators: Michele Bakacs, Steven Yergeau

Abstract: Limited research has shown car washing by residents and fundraising efforts to be a source of nonpoint source pollution to aquatic systems. Multiple car wash runoff contaminants, including surfactants in detergents, heavy metals, oils and greases, phosphorus, nitrogen, bacteria, and sediment, have been shown to be toxic to aquatic life. The goal of this study is to investigate treatment of car wash runoff and whether rain gardens are an appropriate management practice for reducing pollutants associated with car wash runoff/wastewater. This study will be conducted as part of a sustainable, green car wash project currently under development in Clark, NJ. The process of washing cars at the green car wash will be mimicked and the generated runoff will be run through constructed rain garden mesocosms. Total phosphorus, total suspended solids and surfactants will be sampled for and analyzed prior to entering the rain garden mesocosms and upon exiting the mesocosms after being held within the mesocosms for 24 hours. Results from this sampling will be used to determine the removal efficiency of the rain garden mesocosms for the target parameters. Physical parameters (temperature, dissolved oxygen content, pH, and oxidation-reduction potential) will be measured to evaluate the removal processes occurring within the mesocosms and to explain the analytical results. Funding provided through this grant will help support efforts to develop a larger research project investigating best management practices for treating car wash runoff.