Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2019TN245B

Investigate industrial facilities storm water quality and SWPPP performance

Institute: Tennessee
Year Established: 2019 Start Date: 2019-05-31 End Date: 2020-05-30
Total Federal Funds: $24,945 Total Non-Federal Funds: $50,414

Principal Investigators: Maryam Salehi

Abstract: Storm runoff pollutants are among the major sources of surface water impairments in Tennessee. However, there are several guidance on storm water best management practices (BMPs) and pollution prevention plans, but there are many streams impaired by the runoff contaminant. In the West Tennessee, numerous streams and surface waters have been assessed as impaired by nonpoint source pollutions. Urban nonpoint sources (NPS) are the substantial contributors to the surface water quality degradation. In some area the proportion of pollutants in urban storm water that originated from industrial activities have been reported to be significant compare to the other sources like residential or commercial landscapes, construction sites, roads and highways. There are multiple federal and state storm water regulations that require many types of industrial facilities taking steps toward protecting their storm water quality. But there are many cases where applied best management practices were not efficient in reducing the pollutant loadings below the recommended levels. Evaluation of storm water management strategies is not possible without understanding the nonpoint source pollutants’ loadings to the surface waters. The project’s goal is to better understand storm water quality at several industrial facilities to evaluate the sector pollutant discharge characteristics and examine pollution prevention practices effectiveness. Specific objectives are to (1) investigate the storm runoff constituents’ concentrations and aggregate loadings for several industrial facilities, (2) examine the temporal and seasonal changes in storm water quality, and (3) identify the impacts of pollution prevention practices to reduce the contaminant loadings. This research will evaluate the self-reported storm water quality data collected as a part of National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits by 12 Memphis Light, Gas and Water (MLGW) facilities during the last three years. These facilities reportedly exceeded the storm water quality levels recommended by Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC). To assess the data regarding to the regulatory interests, proportion of facilities exceeded storm water pollutant loadings over the time will be determined. Multivariate statistical approaches will be applied to assess seasonal correlations of storm water quality parameters. Water quality data will be examined to identify the temporal trend in pollutants discharge for different industrial facilities during the last three years. Storm water pollution prevention plans performance will be evaluated for two facilities with the greatest pollutant loadings. This research highlights the importance of understanding storm water quality data, to encourage the industrial stakeholders taking serious actions to protect the storm water quality. Industrial facilities’ operators are encouraged to understand their storm water quality data, detect the pollutants of concerns, potential problems in contaminating the storm runoff and implement the efficient BMPs. In addition, our findings will assist the state and federal regulatory decision makers recognize the impacts of industrial activities on local creek and streams. It will allow the regulators assess their progress toward managing the storm water quality at industrial sites, and protecting the watersheds to lower the aggregate pollutant discharge. This proposed research project will further the US Geological Survey’s national mission to increase knowledge of water quality, evaluate how climate and landscape changes influence the water resources.