Pollutant Loading from Low-Density Residential Neighborhoods, Califorina

Bale AE, Greco SE, Pitton BJL, Haver DL, Oki LR. Pollutant loading from low-density residential neighborhoods in California. Environmental monitoring and assessment. 2017 Aug;189(8):386. doi: 10.1007/s10661-017-6104-2.

This paper presents a comparison of pollutant load estimations for runoff from two geographically distinct residential suburban neighborhoods in northern and southern California. The two neighborhoods represent a single urban land use type: low-density residential in small catchments (<0.3 km2) under differing regional climates and irrigation practices. Pollutant loads of pesticides, nutrients, and drinking water constituents of concern are estimated for both storm and non-storm runoff. From continuous flow monitoring, it was found that a daily cycle of persistent runoff that peaks mid-morning occurs at both sites. These load estimations indicate that many residential neighborhoods in California produce significant non-storm pollutant loads year-round. Results suggest that non-storm flow accounted for 47-69% of total annual runoff and significantly contributed to annual loading rates of most nutrients and pesticides at both sites. At the Southern California site, annual non-storm loads are 1.2-10 times higher than storm loads of all conventional constituents and nutrients with one exception (total suspended solids). At the Northern California site, annual storm loads range from 51 to 76% of total loads for all conventional constituents and nutrients with one exception (total dissolved solids). Non-storm yields of pesticides at the Southern California site range from 1.3-65 times higher than those at the Northern California site. The disparity in estimated pollutant loads between the two sites indicates large potential variation from site-to-site within the state and suggests neighborhoods in drier and milder climates may produce significantly larger non-storm loads due to persistent dry season runoff and year-round pest control.

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