Center for Environmental Solutions and Emergency Response, Groundwater Characterization & Remediation Division
In urban environments it is common for vegetation and soil to be replaced with impervious surfaces such as roads, buildings, parking lots and driveways. This has led to both increased flood frequency and increased runoff. The unnaturally high volumes of storm water runoff can erode stream banks which can often lead to large amounts of sediment entering downstream water bodies.
Engineered solutions for stormwater management have been used since the late 1800s. More recently, Green Infrastructure (GI) systems have been developed to mimic natural infiltration and hydrologic processes analogous to undistribed settings. These GI systems mimic natural systems by infiltrating runoff; facilitating groundwater recharge; and restoring and retaining storage volume. Advantages of GI systems involve reducing stress on wastewater systems, decreasing combined sewer overflows (CSOs) to receiving water, decrease peak flow during storm events, restoration of impaired urban waters, and improving watershed health. Much of the current knowledge on the use of GI for storm water management has been focused on the infiltration of storm water into the subsurface, hydrologic considerations, and water quantity. Potential changes to groundwater quality caused by the infiltrating storm water have received little attention and existing information available is conflicting. This research gap merits further investigation to understand how the use of GI practices for stormwater management influences groundwater quality; aquifer and vadose zone processes; fate and transport of contaminants; and the risk posed to vadose zone sediments and groundwater.
More recently, Enhanced Aquifer Recharge (EAR) or Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) have been suggested as ways to enhance water supply through the infiltration of storm water and wastewater. As is the case with GI, the influence of EAR and MAR on groundwater quality is not fully understood.
The specific goals for this research program include (1) Building on the groundwater monitoring and data collection efforts from sites where GI practices for storm water management have been estabilished; (2) Analysis of the GI data collected, and the publication of the results; (3) Groundwater sampling and analysis of collected data from a newly established EAR site.
Green infrastructure; Water quality; Groundwater; Stromwater; Hydrogeochemistry; Biogeochemistry; Fate and transport; Low impact development; Groundwater monitoring;