Water was sampled at four watersheds for continued evaluation of urban storm runoff in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, during February 1998 through April 2002. Eighteen samples were collected from four watersheds representing land uses characterized predominantly as established commercial, industrial, new commercial, and residential. Results of water-quality analyses enabled calculation of event-mean concentrations and estimated annual contaminant loads and yields of storm runoff from nonpoint sources for 12 water-quality properties and constituents. The following water-quality data are reported: physical and chemical-related properties, fecal coliform and enterococci bacteria, major inorganic ions, nutrients, trace elements, and organic compounds.
The residential land-use is the largest of the watersheds (550 acres), which resulted in high estimated annual contaminant loads compared to other watersheds for 8 of the 12 water-quality properties and constituents. This may indicate that the size of the watershed and runoff from residences with their associated contaminants had substantial effects on annual loads within this land use. The industrial land-use area had the highest estimated annual contaminant loads for metals, followed by the residential landuse area. However, when comparing yields among the watersheds, the industrial watershed had the highest yield for 9 of the 12 water-quality properties and constituents, whereas the residential watershed had the lowest yield for 7 of the 12. The industrial watershed yielded more metals per acre per year than any other watershed. Zinc yields were 2.71 pounds per acre per year from the industrial watershed, compared to 0.35 pounds per acre per year from the residential watershed, which was the lowest of all the watersheds. Lead concentrations exceeded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Maximum Contaminant Level of 15 micrograms per liter for drinking water standards in 10 of 18 samples. Low-level concentrations of mercury were detected twice at both the new commercial and residential sites, with all concentrations at or just above reporting limits. The average dissolved phosphorus concentrations from each land use were two to four times higher than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency criterion of 0.05 milligrams per liter. Diazinon, which is widely used as a general-purpose insecticide for lawns and gardens, was detected in all 18 samples. The maximum diazinon concentration detected, 2.7 micrograms per liter, was from the residential site. Malathion, another insecticide used on lawns, gardens, and plants, was also detected at least once from each site, but all concentrations were below the minimum detection limit of 0.1 micrograms per liter.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Water-Quality Characteristics of Urban Storm Runoff at Selected Sites in East Baton Rouge Parish, Lousiana, Frebruary 1998 Through April 2002