Student Research Projects

Analysis of Hydrocarbons Within Storm Water Runoff

Student Parésa Taghavie-Moghadam
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department Biology
Course BIO 489: Research in the Natural Sciences


When precipitation runs off the pavement it contains various compounds that could potentially be hazardous to the environment. One of the types of compounds is hydrocarbons. Hydrocarbons are present on the pavement resulting from automobile usage; thus, researchers have been studying the amount removal of hydrocarbons washed off the pavement during rain events, by analyzing storm water from selected best management practices. This study looked at the removal of hydrocarbons from a type of best management practice, vegetative swale, located in the parking lot of Village four on Virginia Wesleyan’s campus. Once samples were collected from a rain event, they were analyzed using a standard method extraction for oil and grease using petroleum ether. The results will help conclude whether or not this particular best management practice is effective in the removal of hydrocarbons from storm water runoff.