Comparative impacts of stormwater runoff on water quality of an urban, a suburban, and a rural stream

350 210 Stroud Water Research Center

Mallin, M.A., V.L. Johnson, and S.H. Ensign. 2009. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

doi: 10.1007/s10661-008-0644-4


Water quality data at 12 sites within an urban, a suburban, and a rural stream were collected contemporaneously during four wet and eight dry periods. The urban stream yielded the highest biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), orthophosphate, total suspended sediment (TSS), and surfactant concentrations, while the most rural stream yielded the highest total organic carbon concentrations. Percent watershed development and percent impervious surface coverage were strongly correlated with BOD (biochemical oxygen demand), orthophosphate, and surfactant concentrations but negatively with total organic carbon. Excessive fecal coliform abundance most frequently occurred in the most urbanized catchments. Fecal coliform bacteria, TSS, turbidity, orthophosphate, total phosphorus, and BOD were significantly higher during rain events compared to nonrain periods. Total rainfall preceding sampling was positively correlated with turbidity, TSS, BOD, total phosphorus, and fecal coliform bacteria concentrations. Turbidity and TSS were positively correlated with phosphorus, fecal coliform bacteria, BOD, and chlorophyll a, which argues for better sedimentation controls under all landscape types.