USDA Forest Service
 

Pacific Southwest Research Station

 

Pacific Southwest Research Station
800 Buchanan Street
Albany, CA 94710-0011

(510) 559-6300

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Evaluation of alternative abrasives and snow plowing practices and road sweeping/vacuuming as source control BMPs for load reduction of fine sediment particles and phosphorus in urban roadway stormwater

Proposal [pdf]

Lead Researchers:

Hyun-Min Hwang, Texas Southern University
Russell Wigart, El Dorado County Department of Transportation
Raphael Townsend, Tahoe Environmental Research Center, University of California, Davis
Alan Heyvaert, Desert Research Institute

Abstract

This proposed research will evaluate the effectiveness of alternative abrasives, road sweeping and vacuuming, and snow plows with rubber blades as best management practice (BMP) strategies for load reductions of fine sediment particles and associated phosphorus (P). Time series sampling will improve the understanding of what factors (e.g., season, hydrograph, road maintenance) control the size distribution, turbidity, mobility, and source profiles of fine sediment particles and associated P in urban roadway stormwater runoff. This research will use paired site comparisons to identify source profiles of fine sediment particles and P in urban roadway runoff. It is expected that a significant load reduction can be achieved by utilizing better quality crush-resistant abrasives for road maintenance. Road vacuuming combined with sweeping is expected to further remove fine sediment particles generated from abrasion by tires, road surface wear, and atmospheric deposition. If rubber blades are proved to be effective in reducing fine sediment particle generation during winter road maintenance activities, then recommendations can be made to replace steel blade snow plows with rubber blade snow plows to mitigate the water quality degradation. The results of this study can improve our understanding on the sources and mobility of fine sediment particles in urban roadway runoff that will eventually help the development and implementation of management plans such as source control and treatment control BMPs designed to target different sources.

Relation to Other Research Including SNPLMA Science Projects

Currently, DRI and UCD are studying the sources of fine sediment particles in highway runoff as part of a SNPLMA Round 8 project, "Determining sources of highway runoff fine sediment in stormwater, streams, and Lake Tahoe using fingerprinting techniques." This study will focus on urban primary and secondary road runoff associated with alternative abrasives and snow plowing options. Thus, data and products of the present study will further improve our understanding of source profiles of fine sediment particles and P in basin-wide roadway runoff. El Dorado County Department of Transportation (EDOT) investigated potential benefits of Washoe Septic Sand as source control for load reduction of fine sediment particles and reduced turbidity. This study will evaluate the effectiveness of this source control practice in actual road application tests. Hwang et al. (unpublished data) observed that pavement wear accounted for almost all organic solvent soluble components in highway snowmelt runoff, which implies that fine sediment particles generated from road wear may contribute more than 20% of fine sediment particles in wintertime roadway runoff. The snow plowing study will evaluate whether rubber blade snow plows can reduce the pavement wear during winter road maintenance. Sample collection method comparison study will complement the ongoing SNPLMA Round 10 project "Tahoe stormwater particle assessment and management for urban and roadway runoff." Results from the present and ongoing studies will significantly advance our knowledge required to select appropriate sampling method for stormwater runoff collection. Overall, this study will provide critical information that can be readily used to improve winter time road maintenance practices that will lead an additional step forward to achieving fine sediment particle and phosphorus load reduction goals.

Expected date of final products:

December 2014

Last Modified: Nov 12, 2014 03:52:48 PM