AGU 2017 Oral Presentation by Sanoar Rahman: Can There Ever Be Enough to Impact Water Quality? Evaluating BMPs in Elliot Ditch, Indiana Using the LTHIA-LID Model

Center for the Environment
December 11, 2017
4:30 PM - 4:45 PM
New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center - 267-268


Elliot Ditch is an urban/urbanizing watershed located in the city of Lafayette, IN, USA. The city continues to struggle with stormwater management and combined sewer overflow (CSO) events. Several best-management practices (BMP) such as rain gardens, green roofs, and bioswales have been implemented in the watershed, but the level of adoption needed to achieve meaningful impact is currently unknown. This study’s goal is to determine what level of BMP coverage is needed to impact water quality, whether meaningful impact is determined by achieving water quality targets or statistical significance. A power analysis was performed using water quality data for total suspended solids (TSS), E.coli, total phosphorus (TP) and nitrate (NO3-N) from Elliot Ditch from 2011 to 2015. The minimum detectable difference (MDD) was calculated as the percent reduction in load needed to detect a significant change in the watershed. The water quality targets were proposed by stakeholders as part of a watershed management planning process. The water quality targets and the MDD percentages were then compared to simulated load reductions due to BMP implementation using the Long-term Hydrologic Impact Assessment-Low Impact Development (LTHIA-LID) model. Seven baseline model scenarios were simulated by implementing the maximum number of each of six types of BMPs (rain barrels, permeable patios, green roofs, grassed swale/bioswales, bioretention/rain gardens, and porous pavement), as well as all the practices combined in the watershed. These provide the baseline for targeted implementation scenarios designed to determine if statistically and physically meaningful load reductions can be achieved through BMP implementation alone.

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