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Enhanced Simulation of Nonpoint Sources of Nutrients Based on Stormwater and Baseflow Field Measurements

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Abstract:

Nonpoint source loads for Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) studies are often obtained through watershed models that simulate the yield of nutrients using physical and empirical relationships that mimic the nutrient cycle or the pollutant buildup and washoff on the land surface. An alternative approach to the simulation of nonpoint source nutrient loads is the use of field measurements of stormwater and baseflow concentrations. This approach significantly reduces the calibration effort of nonpoint source pollutant loading models and also reduces the uncertainties associated with watershed modeling and TMDL analyses. A large-scale TMDL study was used to demonstrate the effectiveness and advantages of using field measurements of stormwater and baseflow concentrations to simulate nonpoint source loads. The effectiveness of the approach was evaluated at nonpoint source dominated areas such as the headwaters of major streams that are not influenced by point source dischargers. A good agreement between predicted and observed water quality data in the stream was obtained. The use of field measurements of stormwater and baseflow concentrations to estimate nonpoint source loads considerably reduced the calibration effort of the watershed model, since the calibration was limited to hydrological parameters. The lessons learned and techniques developed from this case study have broad applicability to other watershed studies that involve estimating nonpoint source nutrient loads.

Keywords: BASEFLOW; EVENT MEAN CONCENTRATION; NONPOINT SOURCE LOADS; STORMWATER; TMDL; WATERSHED MODELING

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.2175/193864707787223411

Publication date: 2007-10-01

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