Wisconsin Water Science Center
Urban Water Quality
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Much has been learned about how effectively individual green infrastructure practices can reduce stormwater volume, however, the role of urban trees in stormwater detention is poorly understood. This study will quantify the effect of tree removal on the urban hydrologic cycle and measure the impact that trees have on stormwater runoff volume.
In the Great Lakes, large volumes of sewage never make it to wastewater treatment plants due to illicit discharges and leaking sewer infrastructure, but contamination can be difficult to detect. This study will define the utility and practicality of using optical sensors to identify the sources and timing of sewage contamination in surface water and storm sewers in real-time field settings....
Decaying organic materials, like leaf litter, can release excess nutrients into local streams and lakes, causing eutrophication and algal blooms. To determine if a municipal leaf collection and street cleaning program can reduce nutrients in stormwater runoff, the USGS measured phosphorus and nitrogen in stormwater from residential areas in Madison, Wis.
The GLRI Urban Stormwater Monitoring effort brings together the expertise of the USGS with local and national partners to assess the ability of green infrastructure to reduce stormwater runoff in Great Lakes urban areas.
The effectiveness of green infrastructure (rain gardens and decreased impervious surfaces) at reducing stormwater runoff is being assessed at a redevelopment project at Gary City Hall (Gary, Indiana). This study will evaluate pre- and post-construction hydrologic conditions using data collected by monitoring storm-sewer flow, groundwater levels, soil moisture, and meteorological conditions....
Assessing stormwater reduction using green infrastructure: Niagara River Greenway Project (Buffalo, NY)
The effectiveness of green infrastructure (porous asphalt, planter boxes, rain gardens, and the removal of impervious pavements) at reducing stormwater runoff is being assessed at the Niagara Street redevelopment project in Buffalo, New York. This study will monitor pre- and post-construction storm-sewer flow, groundwater levels, evapotranspiration, precipitation, and soil moisture.
The effectiveness of green infrastructure (including urban land conversion and bioswales) at reducing stormwater runoff is being assessed at RecoveryPark, a redeveloped urban farm in Detroit, Michigan. This study will monitor pre- and post-construction storm-sewer flow, groundwater levels, precipitation, and potential evapotranspiration.
Evaluating chloride trends due to road-salt use and its impacts on water quality and aquatic organisms
Chloride, a key component of road salt, is soluble, highly mobile in water, and, at high concentrations, can be toxic to aquatic vegetation and wildlife. USGS scientists have been analyzing temporal, seasonal, and environmental trends in chloride concentrations across the U.S. to determine the effects that road salt may be having on water quality and aquatic organisms.
Many control options for sediments and associated contaminants in storm-water runoff from urban areas rely on settling of solids. This study characterizes particle-size distributions in urban storm-water runoff from specific source areas and land-use categories, with the hopes of assisting watershed managers and engineers design better control devices for reducing sediment in urban runoff.
Evaluating the potential benefits of permeable pavement on the quantity and quality of stormwater runoff
Permeable pavement is a porous urban surface which catches precipitation and surface runoff, storing it in the reservoir while slowly allowing it to infiltrate into the soil below. This study will evaluate how well different types of permeable pavement reduces the amount of pollutants and runoff volume.
Evaluating the impacts of aircraft deicers in runoff from General Mitchell International Airport, Milwaukee, Wis.
Chemicals used to deice planes at General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee may be entering nearby streams in concentrations that may be harmful to aquatic life. This project will investigate the toxicity of decing chemicals, evaluate their impact on receiving streams, and assess changes in water quality in response to the implementation of deicer management at General Mitchell...
Many Dane County, Wis., streams and lakes have been degraded due to excessive nutrients and sediment contributed primarily by agriculture and urbanization. The goal is to build a long-term base of streamflow, lake stage, and water-quality data essential for water-resource planning and assessment purposes for streams and lakes in Dane County, with a focus on the Yahara River Basin.