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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Urban Pollutants

Monitoring Nitrogen Loading and Retention in an Urban Stormwater Detention Pond


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 40 No. 2, p. 598-609
    Received: June 30, 2010

    * Corresponding author(s): jaffe@princeton.edu
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  1. Bernice R. Rosenzweig,
  2. James A. Smith,
  3. Mary Lynn Baeck and
  4. Peter R. Jaffé *
  1. Civil and Environmental Engineering Dep., Engineering Quad, Princeton Univ., Princeton, NJ 08544. Assigned to Associate Editor Liwang Ma


Stormwater detention ponds have become ubiquitous in urbanized areas and have been suggested as potential hotspots of N transformation within urban watersheds. As a result, there is a great deal of interest in their use as structural best management practices to reduce the excessive N export from these watersheds. We conducted continuous monitoring of the influent and effluent N loads of a stormwater detention pond located on the Princeton University campus in Princeton, New Jersey. Our monitoring was conducted during four 21-d periods representing the four seasons of the northeastern United States. Water quality samples were collected and analyzed for nitrate (NO3 ) during all four monitoring periods. During two of these periods, loads of ammonium (NH4 +), dissolved organic N, and particulate N (PN) were measured. Our results show that NO3 dominated the influent N load, particularly in dry weather inflows to the detention pond. However, PN, which is often neglected in stormwater quality monitoring, made up as much as 30% of the total load and an even greater fraction during storm events. The results of our monitoring suggest that seasonal variation may play an important role in N retention within the detention pond. Although retention of NO3 , the most dominant fraction of N in the influent stormwater, was observed during the summer sampling period, no significant NO3 retention was observed during the spring or the two cold-weather sampling periods.

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