Student Research Projects

An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Campus Stormwater Best Management Practice (BMP) Designs

Student Katherine Burchett
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department Biology
Course BIO 489: Research in the Natural Sciences


Best Management Practice (BMP) structures are utilized to reduce pollutant discharge and to mitigate excess water runoff caused by urban development from entering surface waters. BMP stormwater design efficiencies were examined by deploying specialized sample bottles at 18 inflow, outflow, and control regions throughout the Virginia Wesleyan College campus. Four BMP structures were of particular interest, as they exhibit bioretention and extended detention design features. Sample bottles were deployed prior to the storm event, collected within 24 hours following its conclusion, and analyzed for total phosphorus (TP). Preliminary results of three storm events convey no consistent trend for inflow and outflow TP concentrations. For the first and most complete sampling of the BMP systems, TP ranged from 70.3-1966.7 micrograms P/L, with two of the four campus BMPs exhibiting lower TP concentrations in the outflow samples when compared to the inflow concentrations. One enhanced detention basin BMP did consistently lower phosphorus concentrations on each of the three recorded storm events, with removal of TP between 17.9 and 47.5%. While existing measurements do not reflect consistent trends regarding outflow TP concentrations relative to the measured inflow concentrations, continued sampling will provide an enhanced understanding of design and nutrient concentration. As collection methods improve, the study will encompass greater analytical measures of non-point source pollution (NPS) by measuring total suspended solids (TSS) and total nitrogen (TN), while including an analysis for petroleum-derived aromatic hydrocarbons for parking lot vegetated swales.


National Conference on Undergraduate Research, Salisbury, MD, April 2008