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Urban Stormwater Management in the United States URBAN STORMWATER MANAGEMENT IN THE UNITED STATES Committee on Reducing Stormwater Discharge Contributions to Water Pollution Water Science and Technology Board Division on Earth and Life Studies NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu
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Urban Stormwater Management in the United States THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. Support for this project was provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under Award No. 68-C-03-081. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies, either expressed or implied of the U.S. Government. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-12539-0 (Book) International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-12539-1 (Book) International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-12540-6 (PDF) International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-12540-5 (PDF) Library of Congress Control Number: 2008940395 Urban Stormwater Management in the United States is available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu. Cover photo courtesy of Roger Bannermann. Copyright 2009 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.
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Urban Stormwater Management in the United States THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievement of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph, J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice-chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org
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Urban Stormwater Management in the United States
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Urban Stormwater Management in the United States COMMITTEE ON REDUCING STORMWATER DISCHARGE CONTRIBUTIONS TO WATER POLLUTION CLAIRE WELTY, Chair, University of Maryland, Baltimore County LAWRENCE E. BAND, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill ROGER T. BANNERMAN, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison DEREK B. BOOTH, Stillwater Sciences, Inc., Santa Barbara, California RICHARD R. HORNER, University of Washington, Seattle CHARLES R. O’MELIA, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland ROBERT E. PITT, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa EDWARD T. RANKIN, Institute for Local Government Administration and Rural Development, Ohio University, Athens THOMAS R. SCHUELER, Chesapeake Stormwater Network, Baltimore, Maryland KURT STEPHENSON, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg XAVIER SWAMIKANNU, California EPA, Los Angeles Regional Water Board ROBERT G. TRAVER, Villanova University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania WENDY E. WAGNER, University of Texas School of Law, Austin WILLIAM E. WENK, Wenk Associates, Inc., Denver, Colorado National Research Council Staff LAURA J. EHLERS, Study Director ELLEN A. DE GUZMAN, Research Associate
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Urban Stormwater Management in the United States WATER SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY BOARD CLAIRE WELTY, Chair, University of Maryland, Baltimore County JOAN G. EHRENFELD, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey GERALD E. GALLOWAY, Titan Corporation, Reston, Virginia SIMON GONZALEZ, National Autonomous University of Mexico CHARLES N. HAAS, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania KENNETH R. HERD, Southwest Florida Water Management District, Brooksville JAMES M. HUGHES, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia THEODORE L. HULLAR, Private Consultant, Tucson, Arizona KIMBERLY L. JONES, Howard University, Washington, DC G. TRACY MEHAN III, The Cadmus Group, Inc., Arlington, Virginia DAVID H. MOREAU, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill THOMAS D. O’ROURKE, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York DONALD I. SIEGEL, Syracuse University, New York SOROOSH SOROOSHIAN, University of California, Irvine HAME M. WATT, Independent Consultant, Washington, DC JAMES L. WESCOAT, JR., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Staff STEPHEN D. PARKER, Director JEFFREY W. JACOBS, Scholar LAURA J. EHLERS, Senior Staff Officer STEPHANIE E. JOHNSON, Senior Staff Officer LAURA J. HELSABECK, Associate Staff Officer M. JEANNE AQUILINO, Financial and Administrative Associate ELLEN A. DE GUZMAN, Research Associate ANITA A. HALL, Senior Program Associate MICHAEL STOEVER, Senior Program Assistant STEPHEN RUSSELL, Program Assistant
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Urban Stormwater Management in the United States Preface Stormwater runoff from the built environment remains one of the great challenges of modern water pollution control, as this source of contamination is a principal contributor to water quality impairment of waterbodies nationwide. In addition to entrainment of chemical and microbial contaminants as stormwater runs over roads, rooftops, and compacted land, stormwater discharge poses a physical hazard to aquatic habitats and stream function, owing to the increase in water velocity and volume that inevitably result on a watershed scale as many individually managed sources are combined. Given the shift of the world’s population to urban settings, and that this trend is expected to be accompanied by continued wholesale landscape alteration to accommodate population increases, the magnitude of the stormwater problem is only expected to grow. In recognition of the need for improved control measures, in 1987 the U.S. Congress mandated the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under amendments to the Clean Water Act, to control certain stormwater discharges under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System. In response to this federal legislation, a permitting program was put in place by EPA as the Phase I (1990) and Phase II (1999) stormwater regulations, which together set forth requirements for municipal separate storm sewer systems and industrial activities including construction. The result of the regulatory program has been identification of hundreds of thousands of sources needing to be permitted, which has put a strain on EPA and state administrative systems for implementation and management. At the same time, achievement of water quality improvement as a result of the permit requirements has remained an elusive goal. To address the seeming intractability of this problem, the EPA requested that the National Research Council (NRC) review its current permitting program for stormwater discharge under the Clean Water Act and provide suggestions for improvement. The broad goals of the study were to better understand the links between stormwater pollutant discharges and ambient water quality, to assess the state of the science of stormwater management, and to make associated policy recommendations. More specifically, the study was asked to: Clarify the mechanisms by which pollutants in stormwater discharges affect ambient water quality criteria and define the elements of a “protocol” to link pollutants in stormwater discharges to ambient water quality criteria. Consider how useful monitoring is for both determining the potential of a discharge to contribute to a water quality standards violation and for determining the adequacy of stormwater pollution prevention plans. What specific parameters should be monitored and when and where? What effluent
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Urban Stormwater Management in the United States limits and benchmarks are needed to ensure that the discharge does not cause or contribute to a water quality standards violation? Assess and evaluate the relationship between different levels of stormwater pollution prevention plan implementation and in-stream water quality, considering a broad suite of best management practices (BMPs). Make recommendations for how to best stipulate provisions in stormwater permits to ensure that discharges will not cause or contribute to exceedances of water quality standards. This should be done in the context of general permits. As a part of this task, the committee will consider currently available information on permit and program compliance. Assess the design of the stormwater permitting program implemented under the Clean Water Act. There are a number of related topics that one might expect to find in this report that are excluded, because EPA requested that the study be limited to problems addressed by the agency’s stormwater regulatory program. Specifically, nonpoint source pollution from agricultural runoff, septic systems, combined sewer overflows, sanitary sewer overflows, and concentrated animal feeding operations are not addressed in this report. In addition, alteration of the urban base-flow hydrograph from a number of causes that are not directly related to storm events (e.g., interbasin transfers of water, leakage from water supply pipes, lawn irrigation, and groundwater withdrawals) is a topic outside the scope of the report and therefore not included in any depth. In developing this report, the committee benefited greatly from the advice and input of EPA representatives, including Jenny Molloy, Linda Boornazian, and Mike Borst; representatives from the City of Austin; representatives from King County, Washington, and the City of Seattle; and representatives from the Irvine Ranch Water District. The committee heard presentations by many of these individuals in addition to Chris Crockett, City of Philadelphia Water Department; Pete LaFlamme and Mary Borg, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation; Michael Barrett, University of Texas at Austin; Roger Glick, City of Austin; Michael Piehler, UNC Institute of Marine Sciences, Keith Stolzenbach, UCLA; Steve Burges, University of Washington; Wayne Huber, Oregon State University; Don Theiler, King County; Charlie Logue, Clean Water Services, Hillsboro, Oregon; Don Duke, Florida Gulf Coast University; Mike Stenstrom, UCLA; Gary Wolff, California Water Board; Paula Daniels, City of Los Angeles Public Works; Mark Gold, Heal the Bay; Geoff Brosseau, California Stormwater Quality Association; Steve Weisberg, Southern California Coastal Water Research Project; Chris Crompton, Southern California Stormwater Monitoring Coalition; David Beckman, NRDC; and Eric Strecker, Geosyntec. We also thank all those stakeholders who took time to
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Urban Stormwater Management in the United States share with us their perspectives and wisdom about the various issues affecting stormwater. The committee was fortunate to have taken several field trips in conjunction with committee meetings. The following individuals are thanked for their participation in organizing and guiding these trips: Austin (Kathy Shay, Mike Kelly, Matt Hollon, Pat Hartigan, Mateo Scoggins, David Johns, and Nancy McClintock); Seattle (Darla Inglis, Chris May, Dan Powers, Scott Bawden, Nat Scholz, John Incardona, Kate McNeil, Bob Duffner, and Curt Crawford); and Los Angeles (Peter Postlmayr, Matthew Keces, Alan Bay, and Sat Tamaribuchi). Completion of this report would not have been possible without the Herculean efforts of project study director Laura Ehlers. Her powers to organize, probe, synthesize, and keep the committee on track with completing its task were simply remarkable. Meeting logistics and travel arrangements were ably assisted by Ellen De Guzman and Jeanne Aquilino. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Michael Barrett, University of Texas; Bruce Ferguson, University of Georgia; James Heaney, University of Florida; Daniel Medina, CH2MHILL; Margaret Palmer, University of Maryland Chesapeake Biological Laboratory; Kenneth Potter, University of Wisconsin; Joan Rose, Michigan State University; Eric Strecker, Geosyntec; and Bruce Wilson, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions and recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Michael Kavanaugh, Malcolm Pirnie, Inc., and Richard Conway, Union Carbide Corporation, retired. Appointed by the NRC, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and institution. Claire Welty, Committee Chair
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Urban Stormwater Management in the United States Contents SUMMARY 1 1 INTRODUCTION 13 Urbanization and Its Impacts 13 What’s Wrong With the Nation’s Waters? 20 Why Is It So Hard to Reduce the Impacts of Stormwater? 27 Impetus for the Study and Report Roadmap 35 References 39 2 THE CHALLENGE OF REGULATING STORMWATER 47 Federal Regulatory Framework for Stormwater 47 EPA Stormwater Program 65 Local Codes and Ordinances that Affect Stormwater Management 84 Limitations of the Federal Stormwater Program 98 Conclusions and Recommendations 119 References 122 3 HYDROLOGIC, GEOMORPHIC, AND BIOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF URBANIZATION ON WATERSHEDS 129 Land-Use Changes 129 Hydrologic and Geomorphic Changes 145 Pollutant Loading in Stormwater 176 Other Sources of Urban Runoff Discharges 192 Biological Responses to Urbanization 207 Conclusions and Recommendations 230 References 233 4 MONITORING AND MODELING 257 Monitoring of MS4s 258 Monitoring of Industries Including Construction 281 Modeling to Linking Sources of Pollution to Effects in Receiving Waters 298 Conclusions and Recommendations 329 References 332 5 STORMWATER MANAGEMENT APPROACHES 339 Historical Perspectives on Stormwater Control Measures 339 Review of Stormwater Control Measures 344 Designing Systems of Stormwater Control Measures on a Watershed Scale 421 Cost, Finance Options, and Incentives 440
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Urban Stormwater Management in the United States Challenges to Implementation of Watershed-Based Management and Stormwater Control Measures 448 Conclusions and Recommendations 457 References 459 6 INNOVATIVE STORMWATER MANAGEMENT AND REGULATORY PERMITTING 475 Watershed Permitting Framework for Managing Stormwater 475 Enhancement of Existing Permitting Basis 525 Conclusions and Recommendations 552 References 555 APPENDIXES A Acronyms 565 B Glossary 567 C Summary of Responses from State Stormwater Coordinators 575 D Biographical Information for the Committee on Reducing Stormwater Discharge Contributions to Water Pollution 593