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Effects of Development on Runoff and Pollutant Export

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Runoff from two similar drainage areas in the Piedmont physiographic region of North Carolina was monitored simultaneously for 5.6 years. One of the drainage areas was developed as part of a large residential subdivision, while the other remained in woods and agricultural fields. Runoff volume was 68% greater for the developed compared with the undeveloped area, and baseflow as a percentage of overall discharge was approximately 0% compared with 25% for the undeveloped area. Overall annual export of sediment was 95% greater for the developed area, while export of nitrogen and phosphorus forms was 66 to 88% greater for the developed area. These results document the significant increases in runoff, sediment, and nutrient export associated with residential development.
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Keywords: urban hydrology; water quality; water resources planning

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-02-01

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  • Water Environment Research (WER) is published monthly, including an annual Literature Review. A subscription to WER includes access to the latest content back to 1992, as well as access to fast track articles. An individual subscription is valid for 12 months from month of purchase.

    Water Environment Research (WER) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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