Characterization of Runoff Quality from Paved Low Volume Roads and Optimization of Treatment Methods

Principal Investigator(s):

John Gulliver, Professor, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering

Project summary:

Although studies have characterized stormwater runoff contaminant concentrations for paved urban roads with high volumes of average daily traffic (ADT), little is known about runoff quality from paved rural roads with relatively low ADTs (i.e., <1500). With different ADTs and different surroundings and land uses, contaminant concentrations in runoff from urban and rural roads could be vastly different. Current regulations, however, typically require the same treatment of runoff regardless of the road location and ADT. This research will characterize stormwater runoff from rural paved roads with ADTs less than 1500 by determining typical contaminant concentrations for phosphorus, nitrate, total suspended solids (TSS), and metals of concern (e.g., cadmium, copper, zinc). With much of the contaminant load in urban areas originating from vehicular traffic, runoff quality in rural areas with low ADTs may be more sensitive to surrounding land use (e.g., agricultural, forest, prairie, etc.). Thus, this project will further characterize runoff quality as a function of surrounding land use. Results will be used to optimize stormwater treatment practices for paved rural roads. This project will 1) characterize runoff contaminant concentrations for low volume, paved rural roads as a function of land cover/use and use this information to 2) provide recommendations to optimize stormwater treatment for paved roads in rural settings.

Project details: