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Estimating total maximum daily loads with the Stochastic Empirical Loading and Dilution Model

September 1, 2017

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Rhode Island DOT are assessing and addressing roadway contributions to total maximum daily loads (TMDLs). Example analyses for total nitrogen, total phosphorus, suspended sediment, and total zinc in highway runoff were done by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with FHWA to simulate long-term annual loads for TMDL analyses with the stochastic empirical loading and dilution model known as SELDM. Concentration statistics from 19 highway runoff monitoring sites in Massachusetts were used with precipitation statistics from 11 long-term monitoring sites to simulate long-term pavement yields (loads per unit area). Highway sites were stratified by traffic volume or surrounding land use to calculate concentration statistics for rural roads, low-volume highways, high-volume highways, and ultraurban highways. The median of the event mean concentration statistics in each traffic volume category was used to simulate annual yields from pavement for a 29- or 30-year period. Long-term average yields for total nitrogen, phosphorus, and zinc from rural roads are lower than yields from the other categories, but yields of sediment are higher than for the low-volume highways. The average yields of the selected water quality constituents from high-volume highways are 1.35 to 2.52 times the associated yields from low-volume highways. The average yields of the selected constituents from ultraurban highways are 1.52 to 3.46 times the associated yields from high-volume highways. Example simulations indicate that both concentration reduction and flow reduction by structural best management practices are crucial for reducing runoff yields.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2017
Title Estimating total maximum daily loads with the Stochastic Empirical Loading and Dilution Model
DOI 10.3141/2638-12
Authors Gregory E. Granato, Susan Cheung Jones
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Transportation Research Record
Series Number
Index ID 70192097
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization New England Water Science Center