Event Title

Persistent urban impacts on surface waterPersistent urban impacts on surface water quality via impacted groundwater in Red Butte Creek

Location

Logan Country Club

Streaming Media

Start Date

3-28-2017 4:00 PM

End Date

3-28-2017 4:05 PM

Description

Growing population centers along mountain watersheds put added stress on sensitive hydrologic systems and create water quality impacts downstream. We examined the mountain-to-urban transition in watersheds on Utah’s Wasatch Front to identify mechanisms by which urbanization impacts water resources. Rivers in the Wasatch flow from the mountains directly into an urban landscape, where they are subject to channelization, stormwater runoff systems, and urban inputs to water quality from sources such as road salt and fertilizer. As part of an interdisciplinary effort within the iUTAH project, multiple synoptic surveys were performed and a variety of measurements were made, including basic water chemistry along with discharge, water isotopes, and nutrients. Red Butte Creek, a stream in Salt Lake City, does not show significant urban impact to water quality until several kilometers after it enters the city where concentrations of solutes such as chloride and nitrate more than triple in a gaining reach. Groundwater springs discharging to this gaining section demonstrate urban-impacted water chemistry, suggesting that during baseflow a contaminated alluvial aquifer significantly controls stream chemistry. By combining hydrometric and hydrochemical observations we were able to estimate that these groundwater springs were 17-20% urban runoff. We were then able to predict the chemistry of urban runoff that feeds into the alluvial aquifer. Samples collected from storm culverts, roofs, and asphalt during storms had chemistry values within the range of those predicted by the mixing model. This evidence that urbanization affects the water quality of baseflow through impacted groundwater suggests that stormwater mitigation may not be sufficient for protecting urban watersheds, and quantifying these persistent groundwater mediated impacts is necessary to evaluate the success of restoration efforts. Further work involves using fluorescence analysis of dissolved organic matter chemistry and microbial genomics to identify “fingerprints” of urban impacts to water quality.

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Mar 28th, 4:00 PM Mar 28th, 4:05 PM

Persistent urban impacts on surface waterPersistent urban impacts on surface water quality via impacted groundwater in Red Butte Creek

Logan Country Club

Growing population centers along mountain watersheds put added stress on sensitive hydrologic systems and create water quality impacts downstream. We examined the mountain-to-urban transition in watersheds on Utah’s Wasatch Front to identify mechanisms by which urbanization impacts water resources. Rivers in the Wasatch flow from the mountains directly into an urban landscape, where they are subject to channelization, stormwater runoff systems, and urban inputs to water quality from sources such as road salt and fertilizer. As part of an interdisciplinary effort within the iUTAH project, multiple synoptic surveys were performed and a variety of measurements were made, including basic water chemistry along with discharge, water isotopes, and nutrients. Red Butte Creek, a stream in Salt Lake City, does not show significant urban impact to water quality until several kilometers after it enters the city where concentrations of solutes such as chloride and nitrate more than triple in a gaining reach. Groundwater springs discharging to this gaining section demonstrate urban-impacted water chemistry, suggesting that during baseflow a contaminated alluvial aquifer significantly controls stream chemistry. By combining hydrometric and hydrochemical observations we were able to estimate that these groundwater springs were 17-20% urban runoff. We were then able to predict the chemistry of urban runoff that feeds into the alluvial aquifer. Samples collected from storm culverts, roofs, and asphalt during storms had chemistry values within the range of those predicted by the mixing model. This evidence that urbanization affects the water quality of baseflow through impacted groundwater suggests that stormwater mitigation may not be sufficient for protecting urban watersheds, and quantifying these persistent groundwater mediated impacts is necessary to evaluate the success of restoration efforts. Further work involves using fluorescence analysis of dissolved organic matter chemistry and microbial genomics to identify “fingerprints” of urban impacts to water quality.