Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2014TN104B

High Resolution Monitoring of Urban Stormwater Quality

Institute: Tennessee
Year Established: 2014 Start Date: 2014-03-01 End Date: 2016-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $45,096 Total Non-Federal Funds: $91,213

Principal Investigators: Jon Hathaway, Kimberly Carter

Abstract: Urbanization has led to a dramatic change in hydrology in watersheds throughout the United States, resulting in changes to stream morphology and degradation of surface waters. In addition to the effects of hydromodification caused by urbanization, urban runoff is a substantial contributor to non-point source pollution in surface waters. Stormwater runoff has been shown to transport nutrients, sediment, metals, and other pollutants of concern from urban watersheds (Burton and Pitt 2002). To effectively manage and evaluate the public and ecological health impacts of stormwater runoff, pollutants must be well characterized in this water source. Understanding the intra and inter-event variability of pollutants and what affects concentration changes will provide valuable insight to the scientific community which can lead to more effective management of stormwater runoff. Additionally, a major challenge in urban system modeling is the lack of quality data sets for model development, calibration, and testing (Vaze and Chiew 2003, McCarthy et al. 2011). The objective of this project is to obtain a high-resolution water quality data set from an urbanized watershed in Knoxville, TN. The data collected during this study will be of great interest to the scientific community due to the relative lack of quality data sets that can be found in literature. The data collected will be used to characterize emerging pollutants in stormwater runoff, evaluate the intra and inter-event variability of pollutants, and will be used in future modeling efforts by the principal investigators. A portable, refrigerated autosampler will be utilized to collected samples. A bubbler flow module will be connected to the autosampler to record water surface elevation. Water surface elevation can be converted into flow by the autosampler via the predeveloped stage-discharge relationships for the site or by installation of a weir or flume. Samples will be flow paced to allow adequate characterization of each storm event. A minimum of five samples will be required to consider a storm well characterized; however, 8-10 samples will be targeted for each event. Samples will be retrieved from the field and analyzed for nutrients, E. coli, selected metals, and organic contaminants. Data will be compiled to develop event mean concentrations (EMCs) for each storm event and pollutant. The intra and inter-event variability of the samples will also be determined. The results of this analysis will provide a greater understanding of what influences pollutant fate and transport in urban watersheds, and provide a strong basis for future research. Burton, G.A. and R.E. Pitt. 2002. Stormwater Effects Handbook: A Toolbox for Watershed Managers, Scientists, and Engineers. Boca Raton, Fl.: CRC Press, LLC. McCarthy, D.T., Deletic, A., Mitchell, V.G., and Diaper, C. 2011. Development and Testing of a Model for Micro-Organism Prediction in Urban Stormwater (MOPUS). Journal of Hydrology. 409: 236-247. Vaze, J. and Chiew, F. H. S. 2003. Comparative Evaluation of Urban Storm Water Quality Models. Water Resources Research. 39(10):5-1 5-10.