Surface runoff from a closed landfill and the effects on wetland suspended sediment and water quality

Watershed Hydrology lab undergraduate Cody Unferdorfer will be representing the lab at this year’s Geological Society of America meeting in Denver in September. The work that he will be presenting will build on preliminary work that won the Kent State University Undergraduate Research Symposium Geology/Geography division in April, and Cody will have more and better data and analyses to show of at GSA.

Update: Cody will be giving a poster in the session on Undergraduate Research Projects in Hydrogeology on Sunday.

Surface runoff from a closed landfill and the effects on wetland suspended sediment and water quality

Cody Unferdorfer (1), Anne Jefferson (1), Lauren Kinsman-Costello (2), Hayley Buzulencia (1), Laura Sugano (1)
1. Department of Geology, Kent State University
2. Department of Biological Sciences, Kent State University

Abstract
During rainstorms, many wetlands receive surface runoff carrying sediment and dissolved materials. Some of the sediment and solutes remain within the wetland, where they impact aquatic organisms and nutrient cycling. With time, excess sediment can fill in a water body and destroy the aquatic ecosystem, or excess nutrients can lead to eutrophication. Closed landfills have compacted surfaces that can generate large amounts of surface runoff, and the goal of this project is to examine the effects of a closed landfill’s runoff on a wetland.

The study site is a constructed wetland in Parma, Ohio. Water samples were collected during storms beginning in July 2015. We monitored five locations at the wetland: inflow from the landfill; inflow from two green infrastructure treatment trains; inflow from a stream seep, and outflow. Water samples were analyzed for suspended sediment concentration, water stable isotopes, and dissolved forms of nitrogen and phosphorus. Discharge was measured at the outflow.

Based on a preliminary analysis of four storms, of the inflows; the landfill contributes the most suspended sediment with an average of 400 mg/L. There is no correlation between TSS and discharge at the outflow. Instead a first flush effect was observed, where TSS concentrations decreased with time. The landfill inflow is close to the wetland outflow, which could allow for suspended sediment to bypass most interaction with the wetland’s interior. However, comparing rain and wetland outflow stable isotopes shows that water residence time often exceeds a single storm, suggesting that there are opportunities for biogeochemical processing of nutrient inputs within the wetland.

Runoff from the landfill (right) enters the wetland (left) near the wetland's outlet structure. What impact does this muddy water have on the wetland itself? Photo by a Watershed Hydrology lab member, August 7, 2015.

Runoff from the landfill (right) enters the wetland (left) near the wetland’s outlet structure. What impact does this muddy water have on the wetland itself? Photo by a Watershed Hydrology lab member, August 7, 2015.

Evaluating Bioretention Cell and Green Roof Hydrologic Performance in northeastern Ohio

Graduate student Laura Sugano will also be presenting her green infrastructure research at the CUAHSI Biennial Symposium in July.

Evaluating Bioretention Cell and Green Roof Hydrologic Performance in northeastern Ohio

Laura L. Sugano*, Anne J. Jefferson, Lauren E. Kinsman-Costello, Pedro Avellaneda
Kent State University

Abstract

In urban areas, increased runoff from storm events is a significant concern due to flooding, erosion, ecosystem disturbance, and water quality problems. Green stormwater infrastructure is designed to ameliorate these effects by decreasing the flow rate and overall volume of runoff. We compared the effectiveness of a co-located green roof and bioretention cell in order to understand their relative capacities to decrease stormwater runoff, when subjected to the same weather conditions. Our field site was the Cleveland Metroparks’ Watershed Stewardship Center in Parma, Ohio. Beginning in June 2015, rainfall, underdrained outflow, groundwater levels, and soil moisture have been measured on 1-5 minute intervals during 84 storms. Event sizes spanned from 0.25 mm to 54 mm. The bioretention cell completely retained flow from 75% of the storm events, and the green roof retained 49% of storms. The bioretention cell completely retained all events smaller than 3.05 mm and the green roof completely retained all events smaller than 0.51 mm, though some larger events were also completely retained. For storms where underdrain outflow occurred, the average retention was 25% for the bioretention cell and 79% for the green roof. The bioretention cell completely retained 64% of the storm events in summer 2015, 90% in fall 2015, and 77% in winter 2015-2016. The green roof completely retained 37% of the storm events in summer 2015, 48% in fall 2015, and 89% in winter 2015-2016. The groundwater level in the bioretention cell increases in response to storm events and lowers between storms. The soil moisture in the green roof increases during storm events and slowly decreases between storms. My study suggests that bioretention cells can mitigate stormwater issues better than green roofs because they have the capacity to retain more stormwater due to their thicker substrate and their ground-location allows it to retain surface runoff as well as direct precipitation.

Long-term simulation of green infrastructure effects at a catchment-scale

The Watershed Hydrology Lab will be represented at the CUAHSI Biennial Symposium in July in West Virginia. Pedro Avellaneda and Laura Sugano have been awarded travel grants to present their research. Here’s Pedro’s abstract:

Long-term simulation of green infrastructure effects at a catchment-scale

Pedro M. Avellaneda1, Anne J. Jefferson2, Jennifer M. Grieser3

1 Department of Geology, Kent State University, 221 McGilvery Hall, Kent, OH, 44242, USA; Phone: 330-672-2680; email: pavellan@kent.edu
2 Department of Geology, Kent State University, 221 McGilvery Hall, Kent, OH, 44242, USA; Phone: 330-672-2746; email: ajeffer9@kent.edu
3 Cleveland Metroparks, 2277 W Ridgewood Dr, Parma, OH, 44134, USA; Phone: 440-253-2163; email: jmg2@clevelandmetroparks.com

ABSTRACT

In this study, we evaluated the cumulative hydrologic performance of green infrastructure in a residential area of the city of Parma, Ohio, draining to a tributary of the Cuyahoga River. Green infrastructure involved the following spatially distributed devices: 16 street side bioretentions, 7 rain gardens, and 37 rain barrels. The catchment has an area of 7.2 ha, in which 0.7% is occupied by green infrastructure and 40% is covered by impervious surfaces. Green infrastructure is expected to treat 72% of impervious areas. The engineered soils for the bioretentions and rain gardens consisted of sand (~72%), organic matter (5-28%), and clay (~10%). Data consisted of rainfall and outfall flow records for a wide range of storm events ?from 0.3 mm to 81.3 mm of measurable precipitation? including pre-treatment and treatment periods. The rainfall-runoff process was simulated for a 10 year period using the Stormwater Management Model (SWMM), a dynamic hydrology and hydraulic model that incorporates green infrastructure. Two scenarios were considered for the application of the SWMM model: pre-treatment, considering observed data before construction of green infrastructure; and treatment, considering observed data after installation of green infrastructure. The calibrated and validated SWMM model was used to evaluate ?using the same climate characteristics? the long-term hydrologic alteration due to the green infrastructure. A 0.8% increase in evaporation, a 12% increase in infiltration, a 1.6% drainage from green infrastructure, and a 14.4% reduction in surface runoff were produced. A simulated flow duration curve for the treatment scenario was compared to that of a pre-treatment scenario. The flow duration curve shifted downwards for the green infrastructure scenario, with a 30% decrease in the Q99, Q98, and Q95 percentiles. Parameter and predictive uncertainties were inspected by implementing a Bayesian statistical approach.

The effect of antecedent soil moisture conditions on green roof runoff water quality and quantity

Lab alumna and 2015 REU student Jillian Sarazen is presenting her work this week at the 59th Annual Conference on Great Lakes Research, affectionately known as IAGLR. Jillian graduated from Oberlin College in May. Congratulations on both fronts, Jillian!

The effect of antecedent soil moisture conditions on green roof runoff water quality and quantity.

SARAZEN, J.C.1, KINSMAN-COSTELLO, L.E.2, JEFFERSON, A.J.3, and SCHOLL, A.4,

1. Oberlin College Department of Biology, Oberlin, OH, 44074, USA;
2. Kent State University Department of Biological Sciences, Kent, OH, 44240, USA;
3. Kent State University Department of Geology, Kent, OH, 44240, USA;
4. Kent State University Department of Geography, Kent, OH, 44240, USA.

One of the many benefits of green roofs is that they reduce the amount of stormwater runoff as compared to normal roofs, however they can negatively impact water quality. This study was conducted at the three year-old green roof on Cleveland Metropark’s Watershed Stewardship Center in Parma, Ohio. The objectives were to (1) measure green roof runoff quantity and quality of phosphate (PO43-), nitrate (NO3-) and ammonium (NH4+) concentrations during rain events and (2) relate antecedent soil moisture conditions to water quality and quantity. We sampled sequential water samples (Teledyne, ISCO) during four summer 2015 rain events that varied in size and intensity. We measured soil moisture at high temporal resolution using four logging sensors and two to three times per week at 33 sampling locations using a handheld probe. Soil moisture increased immediately upon commencement of rainfall. Spatial data show a response in the soil to rain events with high variability, but no clear patterns. Phosphate export increased linearly with total outflow, while ammonium and nitrate export did not show clear relationships with outflow quantity. Results of our study show that there is a trade off between ecohydrologic function and water quality, as indicated by leaching of excess nutrients in the green roof outflow.

Keywords: Water quality, Green Roof, Urban watersheds, Green Infrastructure, Lake Erie.

Simulation of the cumulative hydrological response of green infrastructure

As a first product of post-doc Pedro Avellaneda’s work at Kent State, we were pleased to submit the following abstract to the 2016 Low Impact Development Conference. A short version of the work will be published as a conference paper in August, and we are preparing a more detailed version for journal submission this summer.

Simulation of the cumulative hydrological response of green infrastructure

P.M. Avellaneda, A.J. Jefferson, and J.M. Grieser

The performance variability of green infrastructure is connected to the changing dynamics in rainfall-runoff processes. Because of these dynamics, a green infrastructure facility experiences a range of rainfall-runoff events that are difficult to fully capture during a monitoring program. In this study, we evaluated the cumulative hydrologic performance of green infrastructure in two residential areas of the city of Parma, Ohio, both draining to a tributary of the Cuyahoga River. Green infrastructure involved the following spatially distributed devices: 19 street side biorententions, with surface area ranging from 26 to 44 m2; 5 rain gardens, with surface area less than 25 m2; and 43 rain barrels. The engineered soils for the bioretentions and rain gardens consisted of sand (~72%), organic matter (5-28%), and clay (~10%). Data consisted of rainfall and outfall flow records for a wide range of storm events, from 0.5 mm to 89 mm of measurable precipitation, monitored over three years, including pre-treatment (~1 year) and post-treatment periods (~2 years). The Stormwater Management Model (SWMM) was calibrated and validated to predict the hydrologic response of green infrastructure. Optimized parameters, in the form of Posterior Probability Distributions (PPDs), were used to estimate flow attenuation over multiple years of precipitation data in order to capture the complex rainfall-runoff dynamics. The hydrologic performance of green infrastructure was evaluated by statistically comparing the non-exceedence probability plot for pre-treatment and post-treatment outfall flow rate scenarios. In addition, the following probability plots were estimated: (1) ratio of pre-control and post-control total runoff volume, and (2) ratio of pre-treatment and post-treatment maximum peak flow rate. Parameter and predictive uncertainties were inspected by implementing a Bayesian statistical approach. Overall, the cumulative hydrological response of green infrastructure was positive: reductions of up to 33% of peak discharge and 40% of total run-off volume were estimated.

CUAHSI cyberseminars on Urban Streams

Green infrastructure, groundwater and the sustainable city
Larry Band, Institute for the Environment at University of North Carolina

Watershed context and the evolution of urban streams
Derek Booth, Bren School of Environmental Management at UC Santa Barbara

The Little Stringybark Creek project
Tim Fletcher, University of Melbourne

Contaminants of emerging concern as agents of ecological change in urban streams
Emma Rosi-Marshall, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies and Baltimore Ecosystem Study

Stormwater-Stream Connectivity: Process, Context, and Tradeoffs
Anne Jefferson, Kent State University

Mammals March Madness – Friends of the Watershed Hydrology Lab pool

Come one, come all to the internet phenom, the most nerdy fun alternative march madness event ever:

Mammals March Madness 2016! http://mammalssuck.blogspot.com/2016/02/mammal-march-madness-2016.html?m=1

Will the snow leopard be upset by the Siberian chipmunk in the first round?* Unlikely. But what happens when the #8 seed Schoolcraft College Ocelots face the #9 seed Quinnipiac Bobcats in the Mascot Mammals division? Who will make the final four? Only science, and a bit of luck, can tell.

If you are on twitter, you can follow the action starting March 7th using the hashtag #2016MMM as the matches are announced live, or you can check back with the post above for updates as the tournament goes on. But the key thing is to go the web page above, print out a bracket and fill it out with your picks for the win. Before the 7th! If you send me a picture/copy of your completed bracket, I’ll track your progress and get a tasty item from Brimfield Bread Oven for the winner of our Kent State pool.

Do we know anything about mammals? Not really. Does that matter? Probably, but Wikipedia, ARKive, and gut instinct let us place our bets anyway.

If this all sounds insane, (it is), ask people like Stuart and Eric who played the last few years and who will vouch for how much fun it is. Or listen to the story that NPR did last year: http://www.npr.org/2015/03/06/391015323/could-a-quokka-beat-a-numbat-oddsmakers-say-yes Or check out the Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mammal_March_Madness

Pass the link to the tournament along to your friends.

Can the biologists beat the geologists? Will lab alumni beat the current lab members? Can we get the paleontologists on board this year? Will anyone be able to unseat Elisabeth as the champion of long shot (cute) animals that make good?

Check back here for updates as the month progresses.

* No actual animals are harmed in the course of Mammals March Madness. All battles are simulated based on biology and an element of chance.

Results
Stuart Baker won the pool for overall points, while Lauren Kinsman-Costello and I at least got a mammal into the championship. Verdict: Bread for everyone!