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Development of a Depth-Integrated Sample Arm to Reduce Solids Stratification Bias in Stormwater Sampling

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A new depth-integrated sample arm (DISA) was developed to improve the representation of solids in stormwater, both organic and inorganic, by collecting a water quality sample from multiple points in the water column. Data from this study demonstrate the idea of vertical stratification of solids in storm sewer runoff. Concentrations of suspended sediment in runoff were statistically greater using a fixed rather than multi-point collection system. Median suspended sediment concentrations measured at the fixed location (near the pipe invert) were approximately double those collected using the DISA. In general, concentrations and size distributions of suspended sediment decreased with increasing vertical distance from the storm sewer invert. Coarser particles tended to dominate the distribution of solids near the storm sewer invert as discharge increased. In contrast to concentration and particle size, organic material, to some extent, was distributed homogenously throughout the water column, likely the result of its low specific density, which allows for thorough mixing in less turbulent water.

Keywords: autosampler; organic; runoff; specific density; stormwater; suspended sediment; suspended solids

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: April 1, 2011

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  • 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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