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Summary of urban stormwater quality in Albuquerque, New Mexico, 2003-12

Scientific Investigations Report 2015-5006

Prepared in cooperation with the City of Albuquerque, the Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority, the New Mexico Department of Transportation, and the University of New Mexico
By:
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https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20155006

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Abstract

Urban stormwater in the Albuquerque metropolitan area was sampled by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the City of Albuquerque, the Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority, the New Mexico Department of Transportation, and the University of New Mexico. Stormwater was sampled from a network of monitoring stations from 2003 to 2012 by following regulatory requirements for the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System stormwater permit. During this period, stormwater was sampled in the Albuquerque metropolitan area at outfalls from nine drainage basins with residential, industrial, commercial, agricultural, and undeveloped land uses. Stormwater samples were analyzed for selected physical and chemical characteristics, nutrients, major ions, metals, organic compounds, and bacteria.

General quality of stormwater samples, as measured by dissolved solids, nutrient (with the exception of phosphorus), major ion, and dissolved metal concentrations, was similar to that in samples from the Rio Grande.

Of the nearly 200 organic compounds that were analyzed for this study, less than one-third (58 constituents) were positively identified at or above the analytical detection limit in stormwater. Concentrations for volatile organic compounds, semivolatile organic compounds, polychlorinated biphenyls, and pesticides were generally low in the stormwater samples. Fifteen of the 16 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons listed on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Priority Chemicals list were detected in at least one stormwater sample from each outfall. Maximum concentrations for some polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in stormwater did exceed a water-quality criterion.

Median concentrations for Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria in the stormwater samples, including those from the background location (Embudo Arroyo), were above the New Mexico water-quality standard. Concentrations for E. coli in stormwater often exceeded the water-quality criterion.

The stormwater quality in Albuquerque was compared with that of six other Western U.S. cities (Phoenix, Arizona; Tucson, Arizona; Las Vegas, Nevada; Denver, Colorado; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Boise, Idaho) for selected constituents. In general, water-quality data for stormwater samples from these six other Western U.S. cities were similar to water-quality data for the stormwater samples from the Albuquerque outfalls. Median concentrations for suspended solids, total phosphorus, and bacteria (E. coli and fecal coliform) in stormwater samples from the Albuquerque outfalls, as a whole, were higher than those in samples from the other Western U.S. cities except for Las Vegas.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Summary of urban stormwater quality in Albuquerque, New Mexico, 2003-12
Series title:
Scientific Investigations Report
Series number:
2015-5006
DOI:
10.3133/sir20155006
Year Published:
2015
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
New Mexico Water Science Center
Description:
ix, 48 p.; 3 Appendices
Time Range Start:
2003-01-01
Time Range End:
2012-12-31
Country:
United States
State:
New Mexico
City:
Albuquerque
Online Only (Y/N):
Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N):
N