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Statistical summary of selected physical, chemical, and toxicity characteristics and estimates of annual constituent loads in urban stormwater, Maricopa County, Arizona

July 1, 2001

Stormwater and streamflow in Maricopa County were monitored to (1) describe the physical, chemical, and toxicity characteristics of stormwater from areas having different land uses, (2) describe the physical, chemical, and toxicity characteristics of streamflow from areas that receive urban stormwater, and (3) estimate constituent loads in stormwater. Urban stormwater and streamflow had similar ranges in most constituent concentrations. The mean concentration of dissolved solids in urban stormwater was lower than in streamflow from the Salt River and Indian Bend Wash. Urban stormwater, however, had a greater chemical oxygen demand and higher concentrations of most nutrients.

Mean seasonal loads and mean annual loads of 11 constituents and volumes of runoff were estimated for municipalities in the metropolitan Phoenix area, Arizona, by adjusting regional regression equations of loads. This adjustment procedure uses the original regional regression equation and additional explanatory variables that were not included in the original equation. The adjusted equations had standard errors that ranged from 161 to 196 percent. The large standard errors of the prediction result from the large variability of the constituent concentration data used in the regression analysis.

Adjustment procedures produced unsatisfactory results for nine of the regressions?suspended solids, dissolved solids, total phosphorus, dissolved phosphorus, total recoverable cadmium, total recoverable copper, total recoverable lead, total recoverable zinc, and storm runoff. These equations had no consistent direction of bias and no other additional explanatory variables correlated with the observed loads. A stepwise-multiple regression or a three-variable regression (total storm rainfall, drainage area, and impervious area) and local data were used to develop local regression equations for these nine constituents. These equations had standard errors from 15 to 183 percent.