Final Report: Physico-Chemical Assessment for Treatment of Storm Water From Impervious Urban Watersheds Typical of the Gulf Coast

EPA Grant Number: R827933C019
Subproject: this is subproject number 019 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R825427
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: Urban Waste Management and Research Center (University New Orleans)
Center Director: McManis, Kenneth
Title: Physico-Chemical Assessment for Treatment of Storm Water From Impervious Urban Watersheds Typical of the Gulf Coast
Investigators: Sansalone, John , Cartledge, Frank K. , Tittlebaum, Marty
Institution: Louisiana State University - Baton Rouge , University of New Orleans
EPA Project Officer: Lasat, Mitch
Project Period: July 1, 2000 through June 30, 2002
RFA: Urban Waste Management & Research Center (1998) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Targeted Research


There were three objectives for this research project. The first objective focusesd on an understanding of unit operations and processes that can provide effective stormwater treatment based on the physico-chemical characteristics of urban stormwaterstormwater. This understanding provides an evaluation of the technical viability of treatment train-type unit operations and processes and the potential for effective combination of such operations and processes into a single or compact design. The second objective wais the characterizeation of loadings, heavy metal partitioning, solids characteristics, and suspended matter behavior, for both experimental sites: the existing site in Baton Rouge and a site in New Orleans. A component of this objective was the assessment of residuals to determine potential treatment as a solid waste. In the third objective, results from Objectives 1 and 2 were applied to an evaluation of an experimental best management practice (BMP) (i.e., a sorptive floating bead clarifier, SFBC) designed for elevated infrastructure typical of the Gulf Coast region. Specifically, this objective focused on the development of a field-operated SFBC to provide synthesis of required unit operations and processes applied for both the dissolved and entrained particulate phases of stormwater. Data, results, and interpretation gained from this objective allow for the modification and eventual refinement of an SFBC as a control measure BMP for elevated urban and transportation infrastructure.

Summary/Accomplishments (Outputs/Outcomes):

The characterization process at the sites revealed some very important conclusions that provide the fundamental design constraints when considering the design strategy for treatment alternative implementation and evaluation.

One of the key design constraints when considering treatment alternatives for stormwater treatment is the stochastic nature of rainfall-runoff events. This subproject study has revealed that the hydrologic characteristics for storm events for a particular site are highly variable both between events and within the same event. The frequency of occurrence of storm events is controlled not only by prevalent regional climatic conditions, but the occurrence of such events also exhibits significant temporal variation within seasonal variations. These temporal variations manifest themselves in the large variability in previous dry hours recorded. This local temporal variability is evidenced by the fact that even though the site is located in a sub-tropical climate, on two occasions, extended dry periods of more than 30 days occurred. Spatial and temporal variation in intensity and depth of rainfall of precipitation within the same storm also are significant challenges for design and operation of control strategies within any National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase II area.

These temporal and spatial variations, both absolute occurrence of an event and variations in intensity within the same event, have fundamental implications for treatment strategy selection and treatment alternative design. Naturally, the stochastic nature of these events precludes the selection of a treatment strategy that involves biological unit process as the primary mechanism for treatment. The majority of treatment alternatives intrinsically linked to biological processes would fail as the microbial populations soon would die when exposed to the extended periods of non-operation typified by such stochastic properties of natural phenomena. Also important in rainfall runoff dynamics is the fluctuations in flow rate that can vary by orders of magnitude between events in response to rainfall intensity; the flow rate also can vary by an order of magnitude within the same event.

Another of the principal variables of rainfall-runoff event hydrology is runoff volume. The volume of rainfall runoff, although essentially linked to rainfall amount, duration, and intensity, also is affected by traffic volume before and during the event. Traffic flow volume will govern the amount of re-entrainment of the rainfall as vehicular spray and, as a consequence, has a significant impact on not only time of concentration for the runoff, but also the co-efficient of concentration. Traffic flow during an event affects the runoff dynamics, and vehicular part abrasion and the inter-vehicular-pavement abrasion are principal sources of pollutants during the storm. Traffic flow prior to an event also may be a contributory factor in pollutant accumulation during the previous dry hours leading up to the event. Traffic flow, type, and speed are fundamental controls on pollutant loadings. The comparison between the two research sites at Baton Rouge and New Orleans revealed that the combination of industrial, commercial, and commuter traffic significantly impacted the pollutant generation and loadings in the associated runoff.

Another key design constraint when considering treatment strategies is the chemical composition of the waste stream and the pollutant loadings associated with it. Mass loading rates obviously are fundamentally controlled by rainfall runoff hydrology dynamics, whereas the relative contributions from the dissolved, particulate, and particulate-bound phases are a complex relationship among metal element solubility; partitioning coefficients; the amount of particulate matter in the runoff and the relative concentrations of organic material within this particulate fraction; and, the pH, oxidation reduction potential (ORP), and the total alkalinity of the runoff. This complex relationship was demonstrated by partitioning results that were a function of pH, solids loadings, residence time, pavement type, pollutant species, and hydrologic parameters and demonstrated significant variability within the same event and between storm events.

Results indicate that the concentrations of priority pollutants found in stormwater runoff from urban and transportation land use often are more than an order of magnitude or two greater than that of ambient background levels. The annual pollutant loadings in untreated municipal wastewater generated from within East-Baton Rouge Parish were compared to the equivalent annual loadings generated from only the interstate and major arterial roadways from within the same Baton Rouge metropolitan region. Results indicated that the concentrations and annual pollutant loadings for the heavy metals are at least an order of magnitude or two greater than those found in untreated municipal wastewater. The other pollutant loadings, such as chemical oxygen demand and suspended solids, are at least equivalent to those found in untreated domestic wastewater. This comparison ignores the settleable and sediment fractions transported with the suspended solids. These two larger size fractions typically dominate the suspended fraction on a mass basis for an event and annually. Consequently, this is a very significant waste stream that without treatment will have a continued detrimental effect to the receiving water bodies into which it is discharged. These anthropogenically elevated levels of pollutants, however, place fundamental design constraints on the suitability of proposed treatment alternatives for this very complex waste stream treatment scenario.

The upflow SFBC is an effective treatment alternative for application to the treatment of stormwater runoff from elevated highways. Unit process consolidation enabled the concurrent removal of both suspended solids, particulate-bound, and dissolved phase pollutants. Pollutant removal efficiencies in excess of the initial target of 80 percent were readily attained and were maintained without any excessive head loss accumulation between backwash periods (dictated by effluent quality), which is typically the fundamental problem of filtration devices applied to the treatment of stormwater. The treatment capacity for this system was dictated by the dissolved phase constituent breakthrough. Pollutant removal efficiencies were neither affected by the 3- to 4-week periods of non-operation between treatment events, or the highly variable influent characteristics of the stormwater runoff. There was, however, a temporary reduction in removal efficiencies as a result of filter backwashing. The required backwashing of the filter bed, the frequency of which was determined by breakthrough, did not return the filter bed to a pristine state, as is evidenced by the sequential increase in maximum removal efficiencies attained during each successive treatment run.

The SFBC is applicable to end-of-pipe discharges typical of elevated highways situated over water. Consequently, it can be readily integrated into an existing infrastructure. This can be achieved by either retro-fitting existing treatment strategies as an attachment to existing treatment trains, or installing it into new structures. The passive nature of the SFBC is particularly well suited to elevated highways situated over water. In Louisiana, these structures can readily be many kilometers long and often are in remote locations. Consequently, physical site constraints, as well as operation and maintenance requirements, are fundamental design considerations because issues of inaccessibility to these structures are a significant concern.

The diffuse nature of rainfall and associated runoff necessitates collection prior to treatment and the SFBC is particularly well suited to this level of application. By removing the priority pollutants from the runoff, pollutants are intercepted from a diffuse non-point source and concentrated into a readily manageable residual. The performance evaluation of the buoyant sorptive media clarifier (BSMC) demonstrated that this treatment technology not only surpassed the initial target removal efficiencies, but did so while at the same time satisfying the particularly problematic design constraints imposed.

Journal Articles on this Report : 2 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other subproject views: All 13 publications 2 publications in selected types All 2 journal articles
Other center views: All 55 publications 13 publications in selected types All 7 journal articles
Type Citation Sub Project Document Sources
Journal Article Cristina CM, Sansalone JJ. "First flush," power law and particle separation diagrams for urban storm-water suspended particulates. Journal of Environmental Engineering 2003;129(4):298-307. R827933C019 (Final)
  • Abstract: ASCE
  • Journal Article Sansalone JJ, Hird JP, Cartledge FK, Tittlebaum ME. Event-based stormwater quality and quantity loadings from elevated urban infrastructure affected by transportation. Water Environment Research 2005;77(4):348-365. R827933C019 (Final)
    R827933C033 (2002)
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Abstract: Ingentaconnect
  • Supplemental Keywords:

    unit operations, unit processes, water quality, rainfall-runoff clarification, filtration, heavy metals, adsorption, first-flush, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Waste, Water, TREATMENT/CONTROL, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ground Water, Hydrology, Water & Watershed, Municipal, Ecosystem/Assessment/Indicators, Chemistry, Monitoring/Modeling, Analytical Chemistry, Civil/Environmental Engineering, Wet Weather Flows, Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Water Pollution Control, Watersheds, pathogens, wastewater treatment, industrial wastestream, contaminant transport, industrial waste, runoff, nutrients, urban watersheds, physico-chemical assessment, industrial chemicals, municipal waste, detection system, cross-connected waste, wastewater management, microbial pollution, stormwater, detecting disharges, stormwater treatment, non-point sources, waste management, water quality, heavy metal contamination, storm drainage, stormwater runoff, watershed assessment, storm drainage systems, heavy metals, organic contaminants

    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
  • 2001

  • Main Center Abstract and Reports:

    R825427    Urban Waste Management and Research Center (University New Orleans)

    Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R825427C001 Comprehensive Evaluation of The Dual Trickling Filter Solids Contact Process
    R825427C002 Issues Involving the Vertical Expansion of Landfills
    R825427C003 Deep Foundations on Brownfields Sites
    R825427C004 Ambient Particulate Concentration Model for Traffic Intersections
    R825427C005 Effectiveness of Rehabilitation Approaches for I/I Reduction
    R825427C006 Urban Solid Waste Management Videos
    R825427C007 UWMRC Community Outreach Multimedia Exhibit
    R825427C008 Including New Technology into the Investigation of Inappropriate Pollutant Entries into Storm Drainage Systems - A User's Guide
    R825427C009 Investigation of Hydraulic Characteristics and Alternative Model Development of Subsurface Flow Constructed Wetlands
    R825427C010 Beneficial Use Of Urban Runoff For Wetland Enhancement
    R825427C011 Urban Storm and Waste Water Outfall Modeling
    R827933C001 Development of a Model Sediment Control Ordinance for Louisiana
    R827933C002 Inappropriate Discharge to Stormwater Drainage (Demonstration Project)
    R827933C003 Alternate Liner Evaluation Model
    R827933C004 LA DNR - DEQ - Regional Waste Management
    R827933C005 Landfill Design Specifications
    R827933C006 Geosynthetic Clay Liners as Alternative Barrier Systems
    R827933C007 Used Tire Monofill
    R827933C008 A Comparison of Upflow Anaerobic Sludge Bed (USAB) and the Anaerobic Biofilm Fluidized Bed Reactor (ABFBR) for the Treatment of Municipal Wastewater
    R827933C009 Integrated Environmental Management Plan for Shipbuilding Facilities
    R827933C010 Nicaragua
    R827933C011 Louisiana Environmental Education and Resource Program
    R827933C012 Costa Rica - Costa Rican Initiative
    R827933C013 Evaluation of Cr(VI) Exposure Assessment in the Shipbuilding Industry
    R827933C014 LaTAP, Louisiana Technical Assistance Program: Pollution Prevention for Small Businesses
    R827933C015 Louisiana Environmental Leadership Pollution Prevention Program
    R827933C016 Inexpensive Non-Toxic Pigment Substitute for Chromium in Primer for Aluminum Sibstrate
    R827933C017 China - Innovative Waste Composting Plan for the City of Benxi, People's Rupublic of China
    R827933C018 Institutional Control in Brownfields Redevelopment: A Methodology for Community Participation and Sustainability
    R827933C019 Physico-Chemical Assessment for Treatment of Storm Water From Impervious Urban Watersheds Typical of the Gulf Coast
    R827933C020 Influence of Cyclic Interfacial Redox Conditions on the Structure and Integrity of Clay Liners for Landfills Subject to Variable High Groundwater Conditions in the Gulf Coast Region
    R827933C021 Characterizing Moisture Content Within Landfills
    R827933C022 Bioreactor Landfill Moisture Management
    R827933C023 Urban Water Issues: A Video Series
    R827933C024 Water Quality Modeling in Urban Storm Water Systems
    R827933C025 The Development of a Web Based Instruction (WBI) Program for the UWMRC User's Guide (Investigation of Inappropriate Pollutant Entries Into Storm Drainage Systems)
    R827933C027 Legal Issues of SSO's: Private Property Sources and Non-NPDES Entities
    R827933C028 Brownfields Issues: A Video Series
    R827933C029 Facultative Landfill Bioreactors (FLB): A Pilot-Scale Study of Waste Stabilization, Landfill Gas Emissions, Leachate Treatment, and Landfill Geotechnical Properties
    R827933C030 Advances in Municipal Wastewater Treatment
    R827933C031 Design Criteria for Sanitary Sewer System Rehabilitation
    R827933C032 Deep Foundations in Brownfield Areas: Continuing Investigation
    R827933C033 Gradation-Based Transport, Kinetics, Coagulation, and Flocculation of Urban Watershed Rainfall-Runoff Particulate Matter
    R827933C034 Leaching and Stabilization of Solid-Phase Residuals Separated by Storm Water BMPs Capturing Urban Runoff Impacted by Transportation Activities and Infrastructure
    R827933C035 Fate of Pathogens in Storm Water Runoff
    R87933C020 Influence of Cyclic Interfacial Redox Conditions on the Structure and Integrity of Clay Liners for Landfills Subject to Variable High Groundwater Conditions in the Gulf Coast Region