Infiltration of storm water through detention and retention basins may increase the risk of groundwater contamination, especially in areas where the soil is sandy and the water table shallow, and contaminants may not have a chance to degrade or sorb onto soil particles before reaching the saturated zone. Groundwater from 16 monitoring wells installed in basins in southern New Jersey was compared to the quality of shallow groundwater from 30 wells in areas of new-urban land use. Basin groundwater contained much lower levels of dissolved oxygen, which affected concentrations of major ions. Patterns of volatile organic compound and pesticide occurrence in basin groundwater reflected the land use in the drainage areas served by the basins, and differed from patterns in background samples, exhibiting a greater occurrence of petroleum hydrocarbons and certain pesticides. Dilution effects and volatilization likely decrease the concentration and detection frequency of certain compounds commonly found in background groundwater. High recharge rates in storm water basins may cause loading factors to be substantial even when constituent concentrations in infiltrating storm water are relatively low.
Additional publication details
Effects of stormwater infiltration on quality of groundwater beneath retention and detention basins