Low Flow and Stormwater Quality in Urban Channels

by Philip B. Bedient, (A.M.ASCE), Asst. Prof.; Dept. of Environmental Sci. and Engrg., Rice Univ., Houston, Tex.,
Paulo Machado, Dir. of Civ. Engrg. School; Fundacao de Ensino e Tecnologia de Alfenas, Sao Paulo, Brazil,
Jeff L. Lambert, Research Scientist; Dept. of Environmental Sci. and Engrg., Rice Univ., Houston, Tex.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Environmental Engineering Division, 1980, Vol. 106, Issue 2, Pg. 421-436

Document Type: Journal Paper


A water quality monitoring effort in a concrete-lined, urban channel yielded a comprehensive data base to evaluate low flow and stormwater quality. The low flow effluent-dominated regime was affected largely by benthic algal production and respiration resulting in large diurnal DO fluctuations. QUAL II was used to simulate the system as an aid in defining cause-effect relationships and to calculate production and respiration rates which were much higher than those reported for natural stream systems. Stormwater effects on DO were found to be minimal with BOD5 levels low and DO levels near saturation. Stormwater loads of total suspended solids and nutrients were found to be a major contributor to total pollutant loads.

Subject Headings: Water quality | Suspended loads | Low flow | Channel flow | Stormwater management | Urban areas | Nutrient loads | Load factors

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