Can Stormwater BMPs Remove Bacteria?
Stormwater Magazine , 2008

Clary, J. , Jones, J.E., Urbonas, B.R., Quigley, M.M., Strecker, E. , Wagner, T.

Many communities throughout the United States are faced with total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) for bacteria, typically for either E. coli or fecal coliform. For local governments responsible for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) permits, this issue can be particularly challenging, and many questions arise with regard to whether stormwater best management practices (BMPs) can reduce bacteria in stormwater runoff. For over a decade, the International Stormwater BMP Database project has been steadily collecting performance data for a broad array of BMPs, with more than 340 BMPs now included in the database. Although not all BMP studies in the database are monitored for bacteria, a data set now exists with approximately 600 pairs of influent and effluent bacteria data. This article provides a brief background regarding bacteria in urban runoff, summarizes the bacteria data available in the BMP database, provides analysis results, and suggests how these findings may affect the selection and design of BMPs to assist in meeting TMDL goals. The underlying data set used in this analysis can be downloaded from the BMP database Web site at