Stormwater March/April 2014 : Page 16

Figure 1. Storm grate with leaf accumulation Quantifying Nutrient Removal by Enhanced Street Sweeping BY LAWRENCE BAKER, PAULA KALINOSKY, SARAH HOBBIE, ROSS BINTNER, AND CHRIS BUYARKSI I 16 n the early 2000s, two major federal programs offered prom-ise of improved water quality within and downstream of cities. First, EPA’s stormwater program moved stormwater drainages into the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), subject-ing them to regulation. Most cities with populations greater than 10,000 now have active municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) programs. Second, EPA’s total daily maximum load (TMDL) program compelled states to develop plans to restore impaired surface waters. So far, there is little evidence that these programs have resulted in wide-March/April 2014 | spread improvement of urban water quality, at least with respect to nutri-ents. As an example, about 140 lakes in the Minneapolis–St. Paul metropoli-tan region have been designated as “nutrient-impaired,” but only one has been delisted as the result of deliber-ate management. Some of the lack of lake response to changes in manage-ment may be due to legacy effects, such as recycling of phosphorus (P) from lake sediments, but there is grow-ing concern that we are not achieving nutrient reduction goals. Moreover, cities have learned that the costs of their stormwater programs have been high, compelling them to think about improving the economic effi ciency of stormwater control measures. Hence, a decade into the TMDL and stormwa-ter programs, some cities have taken a new look at a very old street manage-ment practice: street sweeping. Early analysis of the effect of street sweeping conducted during EPA’s National Urban Research Program (NURP) concluded that street sweep-ing was not effective at reducing event mean concentrations of P in stormwa-ter (USEPA 1983). Even today, street sweeping has been relegated to the diminutive category of “housekeep-ing practices” in MS4 programs, not to be taken too seriously. This attitude is changing. The infl uence of leaf litter and organic matter on nutrient loads in

Quantifying Nutrient Removal by Enhanced Street Sweeping

Lawrence Baker, Paula Kalinosky, Sarah Hobbie, Ross Bintner, and Chris Buyarski

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