Water quality of an urban wet detention pond in Madison, Wisconsin, 1987-88

Open-File Report 93-172
Prepared in cooperation with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
By: , and 



A 5,670-sq m wet detention pond was monitored by the U.S. Geological Survey to determine its effect on the water quality of urban runoff. The pond has a drainage area of 0.96-sq km, composed primarily of single-family residential land use. Event-mean concentrations (EMC) were determined from samples collected for sediment, nutrients, and selected metals at the pond's inflow and outflow sites. EMC samples were collected for 64 runoff events during the study period from February 1987 to April 1988. Storm precipitation ranged from 1 to 51 mm during these events. Inflow and outflow EMC and constituent loads were compared to determine the trap efficiency of the pond. Trap efficiency varied considerably among water-quality constituents. In general, the detention pond decreased the EMC of sampled constituents at the outlet compared to the inlet. The median decrease in EMC for suspended solids was 88 percent, 60 percent for total chemical oxygen demand (COD), 43 percent for total phosphorus, 38 percent for total Kjeldahl nitrogen, 65 percent for total nitrite plus nitrate, and 71 percent for total lead. A notable exception to the general decrease in EMC is for chloride. The EMC for chloride was generally higher in outflow from the pond than in the inflow. This is attributed to an unmonitored influx of chloride to the pond during the winter that subsequently was flushed out during monitored runoff events. The total study-period loads of most constituents were less leaving the pond than the loads entering it. This decrease is attributed to the constituents transported on suspended sediment being deposited in the pond. The decrease in total load of suspended solids was 88 percent, 62 percent for total COD, 58 percent for total phosphorus, 46 percent for total Kjeldahl nitrogen, 62 percent for total nitrite plus nitrate, 97 percent for total copper, and 93 percent for total lead. (USGS)

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Water quality of an urban wet detention pond in Madison, Wisconsin, 1987-88
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 93-172
DOI 10.3133/ofr93172
Year Published 1993
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Contributing office(s) Wisconsin Water Science Center
Description v, 57 p.
Country United States
State Wisconsin
County Dane
City Wisconsin
Other Geospatial Lake Wingra
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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