Abbie Beaudry is a Master of Science student in Civil Engineering with a Water Resources emphasis at the University of North Dakota. She graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Civil Engineering from the University of North Dakota in the spring of 2013. Her interest in water resources started as an undergraduate student through hydrology and hydraulic engineering courses taught by her faculty advisor, Dr. Yeo Howe Lim. Abbie’s present research is focused on the effectiveness of in-situ stormwater Best Management Practices (BMP’s) in Grand Forks, ND. The research aims at determining the amount of nutrient loading reduction and water quality improvements taking place through the stormwater structures.
Nutrient Loading Reduction and Water Quality of Best Management Practices in Grand Forks, North Dakota
Fellow: Abbie Beaudry
Advisor: Yeo Howe Lim, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, University of North Dakota.
Degree Progress: M.S. in Civil Engineering with a Water Resources emphasis, expected graduation in fall 2014.
When an urban area develops over time, an increase in impervious land surface occurs, which impacts the stormwater runoff within the drainage basin. Developers and engineers are many times required to have post-development stormwater impacts to be the same, if not better, than prior to development. This is accomplished by installation of structures such as retention ponds, detention ponds, infiltration beds, etc. that are commonly known as Best Management Practices (BMP’s).
Grand Forks, ND has many in-situ BMP’s located throughout the city. Until now, these structures have been assumed to be functioning the way they were intended to when designed: to increase water quality and decrease runoff quantity. In reality, however, there is currently no comprehensive data collection scheme in place to accurately assess the effectiveness of the BMP’s in general, and the structures in particular. This research combines the current attention to nutrient loading reduction by federal and state agencies with a local city’s curiosity of how effective its stormwater structures are at providing better water quality.
The main objective of this research is to assess the effectiveness of select stormwater BMP’s in Grand Forks, ND. This is to determine a baseline study, as well as develop a sampling plan that can be used in future continuation of the research.
The specific objectives include:
Storm event frequency analysis for precipitation events greater than 0.10 inches from 1994-2013 has been completed. In-situ BMP structures are being prioritized for sampling and water quality parameters to be tested have been decided. The sampling plan is currently being developed, as well as a Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) that will outline all measures taken to ensure that the analysis is done accurately without bias. The logistics of items such as sample storage, access to laboratory equipment, and city of Grand Forks aid in sampling have been developed. Current progress puts sample collection beginning in May 2014 as planned.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has begun efforts to expand regulations and strengthen the current program for individual states regarding stormwater. A new rule focusing on stormwater discharges from newly developed and redeveloped sites is expected to be finalized by December 2014 (Copeland, 2012). They also released a memo in March of 2011 that addressed how development of nutrient loading criteria is best handled at the state and local level (North Dakota Department of Health). In response to the EPA’s request, the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDH) published the State of North Dakota Nutrient Criteria Development Plan in 2007 (Deutschman & Saunders-Pearce, 2007). The NDDH has recently put together a Nutrient Reduction Stakeholder group that has been working at creating the nutrient loading criteria to be applied throughout the state in year’s to come. Major sources of nutrients are municipality point sources and stormwater runoff in urban areas, among others. Pollution from nutrients, such as phosphorus and nitrogen, in waterways leads to eutrophication, which causes degradation of wildlife habitat and leads to concerns for public health. The city of Grand Forks aims to use the collected data from this research as a comparison to the nutrient criteria being developed at the state level.
Advisor: Yeo Howe Lim, Ph.D.,Associate Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, University of North Dakota.