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Stormwater Chemistry and Water Quality

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1 Stormwater Chemistry and Water Quality
Georgetown County Stormwater Division Tracy Jones, P.E. – Division Manager Zollie Green, P.E. – Senior Engineer Shelly Jordan – Quality/Billing Coordinator Chris Allen – Inspector

2 What we do? Plan Reviews Inspections Capital Projects
Drainage Complaints Utility Fee Funds our division

3 What is Stormwater? Rain or snow that falls on streets, parking areas, rooftops and other developed land and either flows directly into nearby streams or travels through drainage systems. The flows are then discharged, untreated, into Georgetown County’s drainage ways.

4 An area of land that drains to a single outlet.
WHAT IS A WATERSHED? One of the Consortium’s goals is to maximize efficiency of stormwater education efforts using a regional watershed approach. You must first understand how a watershed works - A watershed is simply a natural drainage basin where all water flows into a common outlet. Watershed can be viewed on many different scales – basin, tributary, 1 branch of tributary, etc. An area of land that drains to a single outlet. 4

5 Pee Dee Basin (HUC4-0304) Watersheds provide a framework for looking at natural resources independent of jurisdictional boundaries (state, county, municipal…). The county’s drainage area is a part of a very large basin, the Pee Dee Basin, which lies in 3 states – 2 million acres just in SC (11.6 million total acreage). The blue lines represent the major rivers and creeks. 5

6 Quick review of the water cycle shows
In an undisturbed environment, water falls to the ground either hitting the surface and running off, or percolating through the soil into the groundwater. Through both pathways, water makes its way into our creeks, ponds, wetlands, rivers, and oceans. 6

7 As we develop and alter the landscape, this natural cycle is disturbed, impacting both water quality and water quantity. Increased runoff brings more frequent and more severe flooding. Decreased infiltration means less groundwater recharge and a decrease in base flow to streams. The result is that more pollution is reaching our waterways 7

8 Impervious Surfaces Polluted runoff includes pollutants being washed off of hard surfaces. These hard surfaces are examples of impervious surfaces which include roads, sidewalks, rooftops, and parking lots. All of these prevent infiltration of runoff into the ground. Materials like cement, asphalt, roofing, and compacted soil that prevent percolation of runoff into the ground. 8

9 Components of Impervious Cover in the Urban Landscape
Sidewalks Roads Parking Driveways Here’s a few examples of impervious cover … What is your guess as to how much imperviousness? 57% in this slide Buildings Center for Watershed Protection 9

10 Point Source Pollution Nonpoint Source Pollution
Traditionally, the focus of water quality control has been on POINT SOURCES of pollution. These point sources represent direct discharges from industrial facilities, sewage treatment plants, etc. In the last 30 years, since the introduction of the Clean Water Act, these point sources have been largely cleaned up. Despite this reduction in point sources, pollution problems have not gone away. This has caused a shift in focus to what is now the #1 water quality problem in the US, polluted runoff. Polluted runoff is one example of nonpoint source pollution, that is pollution that comes from diffuse sources. Some types of air pollution are considered to be nonpoint in nature. Polluted runoff is usually created when rainwater washes over the land and picks up a variety of pollutants along the way ending in a watershed or drainage area. Examples of nonpoint source pollutants include: - oil from cars - fertilizers from lawns and farms - garbage tossed on the side of the road Polluted runoff is what we will focus on today, both because it is such a problem, and because it can be difficult to address due to the diffuse nature of its sources. To reduce these sources, we must first understand what they are and where they are. Industrial/Commercial – each discharge has its own permit NPDES TRI & PCS Where does this go? 10

11 What is an Illicit Discharge?
Georgetown County Stormwater Ordinance defines an Illicit Discharge as: “Any activity which results in a discharge to the Georgetown County Storm Water System or receiving waters that is not composed entirely of storm water, except a discharge pursuant to an NPDES permit and other allowable discharges as defined in this Ordinance.”

12 Allowable Discharges -Unless a significant contributor of pollutants
Water line flushing Landscape irrigation Diverted stream flows Rising ground water Uncontaminated ground water infiltration Uncontaminated pumped ground water Discharges from potable water sources Foundation drains Air conditioning condensation Irrigation water Springs Water from crawl space pumps

13 “Uncontaminated” is the key word!

14 Sources of Stormwater Pollution
Street Pavement Components of road surface degradation are common constituents of urban runoff. Motor Vehicles Contribute a wide variety of materials to runoff flow. Fuels, lubricants, particles from tires or brake lining, exhaust emissions which collect on the roadway surface, corrosion products, parts which fall from vehicles. Organics, nutrients and suspended solids which have become attached to the vehicle are washed onto the roadway by the action of the rain or splashing from street runoff.

15 Sources (cont’d) Atmospheric Fallout Vegetation
Air pollution such as dust and particles from industrial practices, acid particles, heavy metals from fossil fuel power plants, emissions from automobiles and planes, and from exposed land. Vegetation Waste matter is an important source of organic and nutrient pollutants in urban stormwater. Leaves, grass, and other plant material that fall or become deposited in urban areas may become part of the stormwater runoff flows.

16 Sources (cont’d) Land Surface Litter
The type of ground cover found in a drainage basin as well as the amount of vehicular and pedestrian traffic is a function of land use and will have a direct effect on the quality of stormwater runoff in that area. Litter Consists of various kinds of discarded material such as food containers, packaging material and animal waste. In some areas, animal waste has been shown to be a major contributor of both nutrients and bacterial contamination in runoff

17 Sources (cont’d) Anti-Skid Compounds and Chemicals
Governments in cold weather regions deploy large amounts of salts, sand, and ash to provide better traction and to melt ice. These materials accumulate along the roadway during the winter months and become part of the snow melt when spring arrives. Fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides are often used for maintenance of roadside areas.

18 Sources (cont’d) Construction Sites
Erosion of soil from land disturbing during construction activities is a highly visible source of suspended matter in stormwater runoff. Soil erosion is a major source of stormwater solids for both urban and suburban areas.

19 Components of Stormwater Runoff
Suspended Solids (Sediment) Nutrients Metals Oxygen Demanding Substances Oils, Greases and Hydrocarbons Pathogens 19

20 Suspended Solids (Sediment)
Material such as sand, silt, clay and organic matter with a particle size larger than dissolved molecules or ions. The largest contributor by volume to nonpoint source pollution in the U.S. Studies indicate that other pollutants are often bound or adsorbed onto suspended particles, such as phosphorous, heavy metals and organic compounds.

21 Suspended Solids (Sediment)
Impacts Causes a decrease in transmission of light through water Decreases primary productivity of aquatic plants and phytoplankton upon which other species feed Obscures sources of food, habitat, hiding places, and nesting sites Interferes with mating activities that rely on sight and delays reproductive timing Effects on respiration and digestion of aquatic species Decreases survival rates of fish eggs and sizes of fish populations which may alter species composition Increases temperature of surface water which increases stratification and reduces oxygen in the lower layers May affect surface water sources for drinking water Increases drinking water costs Deposition can clog conveyance systems and reduce water storage Decreases value for recreational and commercial activities Reduced aesthetic value, sport and commercial fish populations Decreased boating and swimming activities Interference with navigation Nonpoint Sources Agriculture Silviculture Urban Runoff Construction Mining

22 Nutrients Plant nutrient such as nitrogen and phosphorous, are common constituents of nonpoint source runoff. Stimulates growth of algae and other aquatic plants and accelerates the process of eutrophication. Enter runoff through fertilizers, plant matter, detergents and washing fluids, soil leeching, animal wastes, and seepage from septic tanks.

23 Nutrients Impacts Nutrients promote premature aging of lakes and estuaries (eutrophication) Algal blooms caused by nutrients and the resulting decay of organic materials create turbid conditions that eliminate submerged aquatic vegetation and destroy habitat and food sources for aquatic animals and waterfowl Blooms of toxic algae, such as blue-green species, can affect health of swimmers and aesthetic qualities of waterbodies Excess algal growth favors survival of less desirable fish species over more desirable/sensitive species Interference with boating and fishing activities Reduced quality of water supplies, including addition of tastes and odors Reduced dissolved oxygen levels can suffocate fish species Reduction of waterfront property value Nonpoint Sources Agriculture Silviculture Urban Runoff Construction Septic Tanks

24 Heavy Metals Originate from the operation of motor vehicles, direct fallout and the degradation of highway materials. Gasoline (Pb), diesel fuel (Cd), exhaust emissions (Pi,Ni), crankcase and lubricating oils (Pb, Ni, Zn), grease (Zn, Pb), tire wear (Cd,Zn). The most abundant are lead, zinc and copper which account for 90% of dissolved heavy metals. Most metals are present in particulate form

25 Heavy Metals Impacts Dissolved metals can create short term and long term toxic impacts to receiving waters. Accumulate in bottom sediments, posing risks to bottom-feeding organisms and their predators Affect reproduction rates and life spans of aquatic species Disrupt food chains in aquatic systems Affect recreational and commercial fishing Affect water supplies Nonpoint Sources Agriculture Transportation Urban Runoff Construction Mining

26 Oxygen Demanding Substances
Include numerous organic materials which are decomposed by microorganisms thereby creating a need for oxygen. This biochemical reaction results in the use of dissolved oxygen in the water. Imposes a BOD (biochemical oxygen demand) on the limited oxygen resources available in waterbodies. Oxygen used can be replenished through Photosynthetic production by algae and other green plants.

27 Oxygen Demanding Substances
Impacts May cause oxygen depletion and fish kills if introduced in high concentrations May alter species composition to make them more tolerant of low D.O. conditions. Increase growth of anaerobic microorganisms which produce by-products responsible for odors in water Low oxygen levels may increase solubility of phosphorous and heavy metals in the water column. Nonpoint Sources Agriculture Urban Runoff Silviculture Septic Tanks

28 Oils, Greases and Hydrocarbons
Organic chemicals cause concern because they cannot be easily decomposed through biological action and may persist for long periods. Hydrocarbons come from fractions of oils and greases resulting from transportation and industrial sources, benzene from gasoline, synthetic detergents, pesticides, herbicides, wood preservatives, a wide range of industrial chemicals. Because there is no mechanism by which nature can rapidly cleanse itself of these compounds, even low concentrations can accumulate in the environment and reach dangerous concentrations.

29 Oils, Greases and Hydrocarbons
Impacts All compounds can hinder photosynthesis in plants Can affect reproduction, respiration, growth and development in aquatic species as well as reduce food supply and destroy habitat for aquatic species If released to the aquatic environment before degradation, many compounds can kill non-target fish and other species. Pesticides/herbicides bioaccumulate in tissues of fish Health hazard from human consumption of contaminated fish/water Nonpoint Sources Agriculture Urban Runoff Silviculture Construction

30 Pathogens Includes a wide variety of organisms such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, protozoans capable of transmitting disease and having an adverse impact on human health. Primary sources include, animal wastes, illegal wastewater connections into stormsewer lines, seepage of groundwater containing pathogens into sewer lines and septic tanks. The principle indicator of pathogen contamination is coliform bacteria. Murrells Inlet shellfish beds close after a heavy rain due to high counts of fecal.

31 Pathogens Impacts Introduction of disease-bearing organisms to surface waters Reduced recreational usage Increase in treatment costs for drinking water Human health hazards Nonpoint Sources Agriculture Urban Runoff Septic Tanks

32 Removal of Pollutants Particulate Pollutants Dissolved Pollutants
Unhindered settling of particles Dissolved Pollutants Wide variety of chemical, physical and biological processes are responsible Chemical precipitation, adsorption onto plant surfaces, suspended solids, biological uptake by algae, bacterial decomposition

33 Removal (cont’d) Oxygen Demanding Wastes Heavy Metals
Occurs through simple oxidation of organic matter by aerobic bacteria and fungi. Generally complete within 3-5 days. Heavy Metals Deposition of metals into sediments pH must be kept at 6-8 to keep metals bound to sediments

34 Removal (cont’d) Pathogens Oils, Greases, and Hydrocarbons
Die off, coagulation, predation by zooplankton, and adsorption onto suspended matter with deposition into the bottom sediments. Best treatment is to investigate and reduce the sources within the watershed. Oils, Greases, and Hydrocarbons Retain by using oil skimmers at the discharge point Reducing pesticides by controlling the sources of these compounds Hydrocarbons often float on water surface and are removed by volatilization.

35 What you can do to help Recycle Pick up pet waste Beach sweep
Volunteer Raingardens & Bioretention Get Involved!

36 SW Contact Stormwater office can be reached at: (843) 545-3524
–Coming Soon

37 Downstream pollution leads to upstream source




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