Assessing Water Quality Impacts of Stormwater Runoff

by G. Fred Lee, (M.ASCE),
Anne Jones-Lee, (M.ASCE),



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: North American Water and Environment Congress & Destructive Water

Abstract: Current water quality monitoring of non-point source runoff typically involves periodically measuring a laundry list of chemicals in the runoff waters. This approach, while satisfying regulatory requirements, provides little to no useful information on the impact of the chemicals in the runoff on the real water quality—designated beneficial uses of the receiving waters for the runoff. There is need to focus water quality monitoring on investigating the receiving waters in order to assess whether the chemicals in the runoff are adversely affecting beneficial uses. This paper presents an evaluation monitoring approach for monitoring receiving waters that determines whether the runoff is a significant cause of water quality—use impairments. For each type of use impairment, such as aquatic life toxicity, excessive bioaccumulation of hazardous chemicals, excessive fertilization, etc., highly focused site-specific studies are conducted to determine the use impairment that is likely occurring due to a stormwater runoff event(s) and the specific cause of this impairment.

Subject Headings: Water quality | Runoff | Chemicals | Quality control | Stormwater management | Information management | Aquatic habitats | Lifeline systems

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