Assessing Urban Non-Point Source pollutants at the Virginia Tech Extended Dry Detention Pond

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Virginia Tech

With a growing concern for the environment and increasing urbanization of rural areas, understanding the characteristics of urban non-point source pollution has become a focus for water quality investigators. Once thought to be a small contributor to the pollution problem, urban non-point sources are now responsible for transporting over 50% of all pollutants into natural waterways. Assessing non-point source pollution is the key to future water quality improvements in natural receiving waters.

The purpose of this research was to investigate the water quality of an urbanized watershed, analyze current prediction methods and to investigate the effectiveness of an extended dry detention basin as a pollutant removal management practice on a 21.68-acre urban watershed on the Virginia Tech Campus. This research included extensive stormwater monitoring and sampling to characterize the runoff and water quality from an urban watershed. The resulting analysis included comparing well-known desktop prediction methods with pollutant removal rates using an extended dry detention basin and comparison with different literature values. Finally, the study team calibrated the PSRM-QUAL model for watershed prediction of non-point source runoff and pollution.

The results of the stormwater monitoring process show that water quality prediction methods are not very successful on a storm by storm basis, but can be fairly accurate over longer periods of time with little or no storm water quality sampling. The extended dry detention basin is a simple yet effective management practice for the removal of sediments and sediment bound pollutants.

non-point, pollution, stormwater, detention, quality