The effects of flow-path modification on water-quality constituent retention in an urban stormwater detention pond and wetland system, Orlando, Florida

Water-Resources Investigations Report 95-4297




Changes in constituent retention in a wet stormwater-detention pond and wetland system in Orlando, Florida, were evaluated following the 1988 installation of a flow barrier which approximately doubled the flow path and increased detention time in the pond. The pond and wetland were arranged in series so that stormwater first enters the pond and overflows into the wetland before spilling over to the regional stream system. Several principal factors that contribute to constituent retention were examined, including changes in pond-water quality between storms, stormwater quality, and pond-water flushing during storms. A simple, analytical pond-water mixing model was used as the basis for interpreting changes in retention efficiencies caused by pond modification. Retention efficiencies were calculated by a modified event-mean concentration efficiency method using a minimum variance unbiased estimator approach. The results of this study generally support the hypothesis that changes in the geometry of stormwater treatment systems can significantly affect the constituent retention efficiency of the pond and wetland system. However, the results also indicate that these changes in efficiency are caused not only by changes in residence time, but also by changes in stormwater mixing and pond water flushing during storms. Additionally, the use of average efficiencies as indications of treatment effectiveness may fail to account for biases associated with sample distribution and independent physical properties of the system, such as the range and concentrations of constituents in stormwater inflows and stormwater volume. Changes in retention efficiencies varied among chemical constituents and were significantly different in the pond and wetland. Retention efficiency was related to inflow concentration for most constituents. Increased flushing of the pond after modification caused decreases in retention efficiencies for constituents that concentrate in the pond between storms (dissolved solids) and increases in retention efficiency for constituents that settle out of pond and wetland storage between storms. The greatest increase in retention efficiencies in the detention pond was observed for total lead, which increased from 19 percent before modification to 73 percent after modification. However, retention efficiencies for nutrients for nutrients and suspended constituents decreased in the wetland after modification. This was probably because of the flushing of accumulated sediments as a result of a change in flow path through the wetland. As a result, the overall effect of modification on the system (pond and wetland retention efficiencies combined) was a reduction in retention efficiency for all but two constituents (total zinc and total ammonia nitrogen).

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The effects of flow-path modification on water-quality constituent retention in an urban stormwater detention pond and wetland system, Orlando, Florida
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Water-Resources Investigations Report
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U.S. Geological Survey ; Information Services [distributor],
v, 44 p. :ill. ;28 cm.