Determining a set of surrogate parameters to evaluate urban stormwater quality

Miguntanna, Nadeeka Sajeewani (2009) Determining a set of surrogate parameters to evaluate urban stormwater quality. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


This thesis details methodology to estimate urban stormwater quality based on a set of easy to measure physico-chemical parameters. These parameters can be used as surrogate parameters to estimate other key water quality parameters. The key pollutants considered in this study are nitrogen compounds, phosphorus compounds and solids. The use of surrogate parameter relationships to evaluate urban stormwater quality will reduce the cost of monitoring and so that scientists will have added capability to generate a large amount of data for more rigorous analysis of key urban stormwater quality processes, namely, pollutant build-up and wash-off. This in turn will assist in the development of more stringent stormwater quality mitigation strategies. The research methodology was based on a series of field investigations, laboratory testing and data analysis. Field investigations were conducted to collect pollutant build-up and wash-off samples from residential roads and roof surfaces. Past research has identified that these impervious surfaces are the primary pollutant sources to urban stormwater runoff. A specially designed vacuum system and rainfall simulator were used in the collection of pollutant build-up and wash-off samples. The collected samples were tested for a range of physico-chemical parameters. Data analysis was conducted using both univariate and multivariate data analysis techniques. Analysis of build-up samples showed that pollutant loads accumulated on road surfaces are higher compared to the pollutant loads on roof surfaces. Furthermore, it was found that the fraction of solids smaller than 150 ìm is the most polluted particle size fraction in solids build-up on both roads and roof surfaces. The analysis of wash-off data confirmed that the simulated wash-off process adopted for this research agrees well with the general understanding of the wash-off process on urban impervious surfaces. The observed pollutant concentrations in wash-off from road surfaces were different to pollutant concentrations in wash-off from roof surfaces. Therefore, firstly, the identification of surrogate parameters was undertaken separately for roads and roof surfaces. Secondly, a common set of surrogate parameter relationships were identified for both surfaces together to evaluate urban stormwater quality. Surrogate parameters were identified for nitrogen, phosphorus and solids separately. Electrical conductivity (EC), total organic carbon (TOC), dissolved organic carbon (DOC), total suspended solids (TSS), total dissolved solids (TDS), total solids (TS) and turbidity (TTU) were selected as the relatively easy to measure parameters. Consequently, surrogate parameters for nitrogen and phosphorus were identified from the set of easy to measure parameters for both road surfaces and roof surfaces. Additionally, surrogate parameters for TSS, TDS and TS which are key indicators of solids were obtained from EC and TTU which can be direct field measurements. The regression relationships which were developed for surrogate parameters and key parameter of interest were of a similar format for road and roof surfaces, namely it was in the form of simple linear regression equations. The identified relationships for road surfaces were DTN-TDS:DOC, TP-TS:TOC, TSS-TTU, TDS-EC and TSTTU: EC. The identified relationships for roof surfaces were DTN-TDS and TSTTU: EC. Some of the relationships developed had a higher confidence interval whilst others had a relatively low confidence interval. The relationships obtained for DTN-TDS, DTN-DOC, TP-TS and TS-EC for road surfaces demonstrated good near site portability potential. Currently, best management practices are focussed on providing treatment measures for stormwater runoff at catchment outlets where separation of road and roof runoff is not found. In this context, it is important to find a common set of surrogate parameter relationships for road surfaces and roof surfaces to evaluate urban stormwater quality. Consequently DTN-TDS, TS-EC and TS-TTU relationships were identified as the common relationships which are capable of providing measurements of DTN and TS irrespective of the surface type.

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ID Code: 30416
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Egodawatta, Prasanna & Goonetilleke, Sobana
Keywords: urban water quality, urban water pollution, pollutant build-up, pollutant wash-off, stormwater pollution mitigation, surrogate parameters
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 12 Feb 2010 04:32
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:55

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