Water Resources Professional Project Reports

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Urban growth adversely affects water quality by increasing the amount of nonpoint source pollutants that are transported to receiving waters. Phase IT of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) is a regulatory program designed to confront the non-point source pollution problem. Bernalillo County, New Mexico, is one of many counties that are required to identify Best Management Practices (BMPs) to control non-point source pollution under Phase IT of the NPDES. The Adobe Acres stormwater lift station drains storm flows that originate from an urban residential area in Bernalillo County and discharge to the Rio Grande. This project begins to characterize water quality for the Adobe Acres drainage basin. Understanding the quantities and sources of non-point source pollutants in Adobe Acres will help identify appropriate BMPs and give a reference point for tracking BMP success over time. The Adobe Acres basin provides an opportunity to find the most effective BMPs based on site-specific basin characteristics where land use is completely residential. Implementing BMPs on a small basin scale might be the best way to control cost on a larger scale. This project selected and analyzed four BMPs from a broad list of BMPs that Bernalillo County submitted as a requirement of the NPDES. A mix of on-structural source control BMPs that concentrate on pollution prevention along with a structural control that concentrates on pollution mitigation were selected. There are many innovative educational BMPs that could be used in the Adobe Acres basin. Educational BMPs can raise awareness of community members to the problems of pollution in stormwater and promote positive behaviors that reduce stormwater pollution. Educational BMPs could also create a sense of community involvement and ownership, which would have a positive effect on motivations to prevent stormwater pollution. The Adobe Acres storm drainage system, which was installed over the last few years, has alleviated nuisance flooding in the subdivision. However, an opportunity may have been missed for the Los Padillas Detention Basin to act as a pollutant trap. The Los Padillas Detention Basin could be retrofitted in the future to improve its pollutant removal capabilities if other BMPs are not effective. Bernalillo County is trying to develop a GIS coverage of watersheds, sub-basins and storm drainage infrastructure. This project also explored methods to delineate small urban basins using GIS.

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Stormwater pollution, Urban watershed, Non-point source pollution, Impervious cover, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), Best Management Practices (BMPs), Storm Water Quality Management Plans (SWQMPs), Bernalillo County Storm Water Quality Management Plan


A Professional Project Report Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Water Resources, Water Resources Program, The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, December 2003