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Effects of urban development on direct runoff to East Meadow Brook, Nassau County, Long Island, New York

Professional Paper 627-B

Prepared in cooperation with the New York State Department of Conservation, Division of Water Resources; the Nassau County Department of Public Works; the Suffolk County Board of Supervisors; and the Suffolk County Water Authority
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Abstract

The study described in this report is concerned with the effects of intensive urban development on direct runoff to East Meadow Brook, a southward-flowing stream in central Nassau County, N.Y., during the period 1937-66. The specific objectives of the study were (a) to relate indices of urban development to increases in the volume of annual direct runoff to the stream; (b) to compare hydrograph features at different periods during the transition of the drainage basin from rural to urban conditions; and (c) to compare the rainfall-runoff relations for periods before and after urban development.

Periods of housing and street construction in the drainage basin correspond to three distinct periods of increased direct runoff after the base period 1937-43-namely, 1944-51, 1952-59, and 1960-62. During each period, the average annual direct runoff increased because of an increase in the area served by storm sewers that discharged into East Meadow Brook. The amount of land served by sewers increased from about 570 acres in 1943 to about 3,600 acres in 1962, or about 530 percent. During this same period, the average annual direct runoff increased from about 920 acre-feet per year to about 3,400 acre-feet per year, or about 270 percent.

The shape of direct-runoff unit hydrographs of East Meadow Brook also changed during the period of study. The average peak discharge of a 1-hour-duration unit hydrograph increased from 313 cubic feet per second, for storms in 1937-43, to 776 cubic feet per second, for storms in 1960-62, or about 2.5 times. In addition, the widths of the unit hydrographs for 1960-62 at values of 50 and 75 percent of the peak discharge were 38 and 28 percent, respectively, the comparable widths of the unit hydrographs for 1937-43.

An analysis of the rainfall-runoff relations for both preurban and urban conditions indicates that the direct runoff for both periods increased with the magnitude of the storm. However, the direct runoff during a period of urbanized conditions (1964- 66) was from 1.1 to 4.6 times greater than the corresponding runoff during the preurban period 1937-43, depending on the size of the individual storm.

The volume of direct runoff from the parts of the subarea equipped with storm sewers that discharged into East Meadow Brook is estimated to have been roughly 3,000 acre-feet per year in 1960-62, or about 20 percent of the precipitation on those parts of the area.

The increase in direct runoff probably represents a loss of ground-water recharge. However, because data changes in evapo-transpiration are insufficient and because the effects of recharge basins are unknown, adequate quantitative estimates of groundwater recharge can not be made.

On the basis of the present zoning regulations and on assumption that an additional 320 acres in the Hempstead subarea will be serviced by storm sewers that discharge into East Meadow Brook, direct runoff from the subarea is expected to increase in the future to an estimated 4,000-4,500 acre-feet per year.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Effects of urban development on direct runoff to East Meadow Brook, Nassau County, Long Island, New York
Series title:
Professional Paper
Series number:
627
Chapter:
B
Year Published:
1969
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Government Printing Office
Description:
Report: iii, p. B1-B14; Plate: 25.54 x 35.52 inches
Larger Work Title:
Hydrology and some effects of urbanization on Long Island, New York
Country:
United States
State:
New York
County:
Nassau County