Civil Engineering ETDs

Publication Date



Difficulties associated with monitoring urban stormwater quality present considerable challenges to stormwater managers in the arid southwest. Complexities arise from the infrequent occurrence of storm events, their highly localized extent, and the short duration of storm hydrographs. The presence of sediment in high amount can make both sample collection challenging and the interpretation of the resulting data difficult. This study explored an alternative strategy in which sediments and plant matter from within the channels in an urban watershed in the Northeast Heights of Albuquerque, New Mexico, were collected for analysis of metals from possible sources within the watershed. The upper reaches of the watershed are undeveloped and thus has no anthropogenic contaminant sources and sediment was used for comparison with down gradient impacted streams. This study focused on four metals Cu, Cr, Sb, and Zn with average sediment contamination from the top of the watershed to the bottom ranging from 2.48 to 15.6, 1.56 to 6.08, 3.12 to 5.20, and 17.9 to 83.2 mg kg-1, respectively. The concentration of v these constituents in plant tissue varied by plant roots, leaves, and stems. The increase in metal accumulation in both storm water sediments and plants followed the same trend as the sediments suggesting that plants may serve as indicators of the threats to receiving water in the environment as a result of urbanization of the watershed.


urban stormwater, sediment, phytoaccumulation


The Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority (AMAFCA)

Document Type




Degree Name

Civil Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Thomson, Bruce

First Committee Member (Chair)

Lovato, Jerry

Second Committee Member

Stearns, Karen

Third Committee Member

Ali, Abdul-Mehdi