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Effectiveness of a stormwater collection and detention system for reducing constituent loads from bridge runoff in Pinellas County, Florida

Open-File Report 96-484

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Abstract

The quantity and quality of stormwater runoff from the Bayside Bridge were evaluated to determine the effectiveness of the stormwater collection and detention pond system of the bridge in reducing constituent loads to Old Tampa Bay. Water-quality samples of stormwater runoff from the bridge and outflow from the detention pond were collected during and after selected storms. These samples were used to compute loads for selected constituents. Stormwater on the Bayside Bridge drained rapidly during rain events. The volume of stormwater runoff from 24 storms measured during the study ranged from 4,086 to 103,705 cubic feet. Storms were most frequent during July through September and were least frequent from February through May. Concentrations of most constituents in stormwater runoff before the bridge opened to traffic were less than or equal to concentrations measured after the bridge was opened to traffic. However, concentrations of arsenic in the outflow from the detention pond generally were greater before the bridge opened than concentrations after, and concentrations of orthophosphorus in the stormwater runoff and outflow from the pond were greater before the bridge opened than during over half the sampled storms after the bridge opened. Concentrations of most constituents measured in stormwater runoff from the bridge were greatest at the beginning of the storm and decreased as the storm continued. Variations in suspended solids, nutrients, and trace element concentrations were not always concurrent with each other. The source of the measured constituent (rainfall or road debris) and the phase of the constituent (suspended or dissolved) probably affected the timing of concentration changes. The quality of stormwater runoff from the Bayside Bridge varied with total runoff volume, with the length of the dry period before the storm, and with season. Average concentrations of suspended solids, ammonia plus organic nitrogen, nitrite plus nitrate nitrogen, orthophosphorus, phosphorus, total organic carbon, aluminum, arsenic, copper, and zinc in stormwater runoff generally were inversely related to runoff volume. The quality of outflow from the detention pond also varied during a storm event and with season. Maximum concentrations generally occurred near the beginning of a storm, and decreased as the storm continued. Maximum concentrations of many constituents occurred in June and July 1995. During the summer months, pH exceeded 9.0 while inorganic nitrogen concentrations were very low. These high pH values and low inorganic nitrogen concentrations are most likely associated with photosynthesis by algae or aquatic plants in the pond. Concentrations of nitrogen, phosphorus, and nickel in stormwater runoff were correlated with total organic carbon concentrations. Concentrations of chromium, copper, iron, nickel, lead, and zinc in stormwater runoff were correlated with aluminum concentrations. The source of these metals is probably the bridge materials and metallic debris from vehicles. The northern detention pond system of the Bayside Bridge effectively reduced concentrations of suspended solids, ammonia nitrogen, nitrite plus nitrate nitrogen, phosphorus, aluminum, cadmium, chromium, copper, iron, lead, nickel, and zinc in stormwater runoff before water discharged from the pond. However, concentrations of ammonia plus organic nitrogen, organic carbon, arsenic, and values for alkalinity, pH, and specific conductance generally were greater in outflow from the pond than in stormwater runoff from the bridge. Stormwater runoff and pond outflow for three storm events were evaluated to determine the effectiveness of the detention pond system in removing selected constituents from the stormwater runoff. Most constituents and constituent loads were reduced in the outflow from the pond. Suspended solids loads were reduced about 30 to 45 percent, inorganic nitrogen loads were reduced by about 60 to 90 percent, and loads of most trace elements

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Effectiveness of a stormwater collection and detention system for reducing constituent loads from bridge runoff in Pinellas County, Florida
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
96-484
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1996
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey ; Branch of Information Services [distributor],
Description:
iv, 38 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.