Urban Runoff Based on Land Use and Particle Size

by Linda D. Pechacek, (M.ASCE), Univ of Houston, Houston, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Hydraulic Engineering


As point sources have achieved pollution compliance, the focus of pollution abatement has shifted to nonpoint sources. New Federal regulations require wet-weather monitoring of drainage areas composed of singular land-use activity. The regulations do not address characteristics of the suspended solid load carried by urban runoff. Two important suspended solid characteristics used in engineering are particle size and particle size distribution. Eighty-nine stormwater samples from residential, commercial and industrial land-use areas in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex were analyzed for particle sizes less than 75 microns. Results determined that no significant relationship exists between particle size distribution and land-use category. The research did indicate 90 percent of the particles analyzed are less than 10 microns. Seventy percent are between 1 and 4 microns, indicating clays and smaller sized silts. A trend was identified whereby industrial sample sites contributed higher particle counts per acre to urban runoff than residential or commercial sample sites.

Subject Headings: Particle size distribution | Soil pollution | Particle pollution | Runoff | Land use | Urban areas | Nonpoint pollution | Turbidity

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