Hydrologic processes regulate nutrient retention in stormwater detention ponds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Managed stormwater ponds are abundant in urban landscapes in much of the world, performing vital but under-studied functions for attenuation of urban runoff and nutrient pollution. Water quality improvements are widely assumed to arise from settling of nutrients and other contaminants bound to particulates, with less consideration of hydrological and biogeochemical processes. To inform improved management of ponds for nutrient retention, we studied three mature urban detention ponds in the Twin Cities, MN, USA using continuous monitoring of pond hydrology and concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus, coupled with periodic measurement of physiochemical conditions in the ponds. Across the three sites, annual nutrient retention was high for both nitrogen (>58%) and phosphorus (>48%) despite expectations of poor performance for phosphorus due to old age and internal loading linked to hypolimnetic anoxia. Both annual and event-scale analyses suggested strong hydrologic controls on nutrient retention, with retention for individual storm events strongly regulated by antecedent pond storage capacity. Events with net nutrient export occurred primarily due to low volume retention rather than relatively high outflow concentrations. Together these results suggest that understanding and improving pond hydrologic function is crucial to improving managed stormwater pond performance for meeting downstream water quality goals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number153722
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume823
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for this study was provided through the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment of the State of Minnesota (grant number 107988/PO3000016025 ) and administered by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). The authors are grateful for assistance in revision from Dr. Poornima Natarajan; field and laboratory assistance from Claire Jaeger-Mountain, Tessa Belo, Will Chapman, Erin Mittag, Krysta Garayt, and Judy Anne De Veyra; lab analytical work by Michelle Rorer; and information and assistance from Ryan Johnson (City of Roseville), John Kramer and Austin Kaufmann (Pond D), the Capitol Region Watershed District, and the MPCA. We respectfully acknowledge that the lands on which this study occurred are the original homelands of the Dakota and Ojibwe Nations, and we aspire to honor and respect the Indigenous peoples who were forcibly removed from and are still connected to this territory.

Funding Information:
Funding for this study was provided through the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment of the State of Minnesota (grant number 107988/PO3000016025) and administered by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). The authors are grateful for assistance in revision from Dr. Poornima Natarajan; field and laboratory assistance from Claire Jaeger-Mountain, Tessa Belo, Will Chapman, Erin Mittag, Krysta Garayt, and Judy Anne De Veyra; lab analytical work by Michelle Rorer; and information and assistance from Ryan Johnson (City of Roseville), John Kramer and Austin Kaufmann (Pond D), the Capitol Region Watershed District, and the MPCA. We respectfully acknowledge that the lands on which this study occurred are the original homelands of the Dakota and Ojibwe Nations, and we aspire to honor and respect the Indigenous peoples who were forcibly removed from and are still connected to this territory.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier B.V.

Keywords

  • Detention ponds
  • Hydrology
  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus
  • Retention
  • Water quality

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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