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Water Quality Assessed By Benthic Macro- Invertebrates: Proposing the WQABI Method

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2010 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, June 20 - June 23, 2010  1008648.(doi:10.13031/2013.29681)
Authors:   J K McNett, W F Hunt, J A Osborne
Keywords:   Removal Efficiency, Benthic Macro-Invertebrates, Water Quality, BMP Performance.

Stormwater experts agree that the currently used Best Management Practice (BMP) percent removal methodology metric has many flaws, and some have suggested utilizing a BMP effluent concentration metric. This case study examines establishing an effluent target concentration for BMPs that relates to the health of macro-invertebrates in the receiving water. 193 ambient water quality monitoring stations in North Carolina were paired with benthic macro-invertebrate health ratings collected in very close proximity. Water quality for the sites ranged from Excellent to Poor and was divided into three distinct eco-regions: Mountain, Piedmont, and Coastal. Statistically significant relationships were found in one or more eco-regions for DO, Fecal Coliform, NH3, NO2+NO3, TKN, TN, and TP. BMPs can then be selected and designed to meet these target effluent concentrations. Based upon this research, a development, and therefore set of BMPs, in Piedmont North Carolina could be required to release TN and TP effluent concentrations of 0.99 mg/L and 0.11 mg/L, respectively. These concentrations are both associated with "Good" Benthos health. The new method was most effective in the Piedmont eco-region, however with more data collection, the Mountain and Coastal eco-regions may also benefit.

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