Simulation of temperature mitigation by a stormwater detention pond

William R. Herb, Omid Mohseni, Heinz G. Stefan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


A numerical model has been developed to simulate the hydraulic and heat transfer properties of a stormwater detention pond, as part of a simulation tool to evaluate thermal pollution of coldwater streams from stormwater runoff. The model is dynamic (unsteady) and based on principles of fluid mechanics and heat transfer. It is driven by hourly weather data, and specified inflow rates and temperatures. To calibrate and validate the pond model field data were collected on a commercial site in Woodbury, Minnesota. The relationship between pond inflow and outflow rates to precipitation was effectively calibrated using continuously recorded pond levels. Algorithms developed for surface heat transfer in lakes were found to be applicable to the pond with some modification, resulting in agreement of simulated and observed pond surface temperature within 1.0°C root mean square error. The use of an unshaded pond for thermal mitigation of runoff from paved surfaces was evaluated using the pond model combined with simulated runoff from an asphalt parking lot for six years of observed rainfall events. On average, pond outflow temperature was 1.2°C higher than inflow temperature, but with significant event-to-event variation. On average, the pond added heat energy to runoff from an asphalt parking lot. Although the pond added total heat energy to runoff, it did reduce the rate of heat outflow from the pond by an order of magnitude due to reductions in volumetric outflow rate compared with the inflow rate. By reducing the rate of heat flow, the magnitude of temperature impacts in a receiving stream were also reduced, but the duration of impacts was increased.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1164-1178
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of the American Water Resources Association
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 11 2009


  • Best management practices
  • Runoff
  • Stormwater management
  • Temperature


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