Applicability of Stormwater Best Management Practices in the Virginia Coastal Plain
Johnson, Rachael Diane
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The Virginia Runoff Reduction Method (RRM) was adopted in 2014 as a compliance tool for evaluation of stormwater volume and quality, and necessitates use of urban stormwater best management practices (BMPs) to meet regulatory standards. Coastal Virginia is characterized by flat terrain, shallow water tables, and low permeable soils that may limit the application of BMPs as recommended by state regulations. Soil morphological features are often used to estimate the seasonal high water table (SHWT) for initial feasibility, but existing soil data misrepresented expected SHWT depths in the Virginia Beach, VA, study area. A GIS-based methodology relying on perennial surface water elevations and USGS groundwater monitoring data was developed to estimate the SHWT depth in Virginia Beach. The SHWT map was shown to be consistently more reliable than available predictions based on soil morphology, and was used as input to a BMP siting tool. The tool, known as BMP Checker, was developed to explore how flat terrain, shallow water tables, and poor soils influence BMP siting in coastal Virginia. The BMP Checker algorithm was validated on 11 Virginia Beach sites before application on 10,000 ft2 (929 m2) area sections across the city. Citywide application showed that the most widely applicable BMPs in the study area include wet ponds that intercept groundwater and constructed wetlands. Conversely, sheet flow to conservation area and infiltration practices are the least applicable. Because the RRM assigns more credit to infiltration-based practices, sites in Virginia Beach may find it difficult to meet regulatory standards.
- Masters Theses