Stormwater in HD

Stormwater runoff impacts both water quality and water quantity. Not only does stormwater runoff increase erosion and flooding, but it can also pick up pollutants, nutrients, and debris, and enter - untreated - the stormwater system or water bodies, like rivers, streams or lakes. Stormwater management is fundamental to control the nature and concentration of these contaminants and to verify whether water quality standards and regulations enforced in a specific region are met, particularly during and after extreme weather events.

Renee Nmair calibrating the Manta2
probe in the CEIE Lab

The Chesapeake Bay represents the largest estuary in the U.S. and one of the most investigated areas for environmental concerns. Past studies showed that increases in agricultural development, population growth, and sewage treatment plant discharges caused pollution in the Bay. For the past few years, we have monitored one site that contributes to the Bay, the George Mason University campus. Specifically, water quality indicators (e.g., turbidity, pH, dissolved oxygen, pollutants concentration) have been collected and analyzed during different seasons at the outlet of the watershed that contains the Mason campus in Fairfax, VA. Monitoring stormwater quality will also be useful to assess how past and future facilities strategies have impacted or will impact stormwater quality. This project will help facilities managers in their real-time and long-term decisions about stormwater retention, stormwater treatment, and sustainable structures that will protect natural habitats.

A water quality monitoring instrument (the Eureka Manta2 Waterprobe) with six sensors automatically recorded six water quality indicators: dissolved oxygen concentration (DO), nitrate concentration, pH, specific conductivity, temperature, and turbidity. The water quality probe recorded each indicator every hour from October 2015 to October 2018. However, the probe was out for calibration and repairs occasionally and there have been some frequent network issues with the data logger.

Funded by Dominion Foundation

Team: Dr. Ferreira, Dr. Maggioni, Maryam Zavareh, Renee Nmair, Rebecca Brenneis