Student Research Projects

Effectiveness of BMP Types in Reducing Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Turbidity and Oil

Student Heaven Meinnert and Paresa Taghaive-Moghadam
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department Earth and Environmental Sciences
Course EES 489: Research in the Natural Sciences


Pollution from stormwater runoff is a major contributor to poor water quality. Best Management Practices (BMPs) are thought to be effective means to reduce the quantity of pollutants from contaminated stormwater. We investigated the effectiveness of several BMP types, including retention ponds and vegetative swales on the VWC campus and a small-scale model of a single-flush filtering tank designed to simulate the treatment of relatively large volumes of water, such as storm flow off of a parking lot. Samples collected from campus BMPs focused on reductions of total nitrogen, total phosphorus and turbidity. The BMP model was used to examine the effectiveness of different configurations for reducing, total nitrogen and phosphorus, turbidity, and oil and grease. Campus BMPs typically showed reductions in turbidity, but little improvement in total nitrogen and phosphorus (<25% reduction). Model BMP trials with physical filtration (crushed coral) and activated carbon typically reduced total phosphorus by 18-35%. Our current research is examining the effectiveness of the model BMP at reducing oil and grease, and the potential for an ion exchange resin to improve P removal by the model BMP.


Fall 2010 Virginia Stormwater Symposium