Indicator Bacteria Removal in Storm-Water Best Management Practices in Charlotte, North Carolina
Journal of Environmental Engineering , 135 , 2009

Hathaway, J.M., Hunt, W.F., Jadlocki, S.J.

Water quality degradation due to pathogen pollution is a major concern in the United States. Storm-water runoff is an important contributor to the transport of indicator bacteria from urbanized watersheds to nearby surface waters. With total maximum daily loads being established to reduce the export of indicator bacteria to surface waters, storm-water best management practices BMPs may be an important tool in treating indicator bacteria in runoff. However, the ability of these systems to remove indicator bacteria is not well established. A study in Charlotte, N.C., monitored nine storm-water BMPs one wet pond, two storm-water wetlands, two dry detention basins, one bioretention area, and three proprietary devices for fecal coliform and Escherichia coli E. coli . A wet pond, two wetlands, a bioretention area, and a proprietary device all removed fecal coliform with an efficiency higher than 50%; however, only the wetlands and bioretention area had significantly different influent and effluent concentrations p 0.05 . For E. coli, only one of the wetlands and the bioretention area provided a concentration reduction greater than 50%, both of which had a significant difference in influent and effluent concentrations p 0.05 . Only one of the nine BMPs had a geometric mean effluent concentration of fecal coliform lower than the U.S. EPA target value, while four of the nine BMPs had geometric mean effluent concentrations lower than the U.S. EPA standard for E. coli. This study showed that some BMPs may be useful for treatment of indicator bacteria; however, other BMPs did not perform well. Because wet, nutrient-rich environments exist in many storm-water BMPs, there is a potential for indicator bacteria to persist in these systems.