Study on the Effectiveness of BMPs to Control Bacteria Loads
Final Quarterly Report No. 1 , 2006

Rifai, H.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) currently has Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) projects for Buffalo and White Oak Bayous, Clear Creek, and several other bodies of water in the Houston Metro Area. The TMDL for the Buffalo and White Oak Bayous has shown that storm water carries a high concentration of bacteria and that this may be a large source of bacteria for these water bodies. Studies performed in regions throughout the U.S. have shown that Best Management Practices (BMPs) can be used to reduce bacteria concentrations in storm water runoff. The data and results from this study may be used to help formulate the implementation plans of the TMDLs for Buffalo and White Oak Bayous, as well as, the other surface water bodies on the 303d list. BMPs include both structural and non-structural practices designated for the management of stormwater runoff at its source. A wide range of practices from stenciling and street sweeping to wetland systems and wet ponds are included under this definition. Several BMPs, in particular, have demonstrated great potential to improve water quality. These include wet basins, dry basins, flood control/water quality basins, wetland systems, grass swales, and vegetative filter strips. Studies have shown that the mechanisms of bacterial removal in these are settling/sedimentation, temperature, sunlight, and filtration (Khatiwada and Polprasert 1999; Davies and Bavor 2000; Darakas 2001; Brookes et al., 2005; Characklis et al., 2005; Gannon et al., 2005). There are several goals for this study. The first goal is to gather data that may be used in the implementation of the TMDL. An additional goal is to determine the ability of BMPs to reduce the bacteria loads from runoff in the Houston Metropolitan area.