Urban stormwater research project library

Select from any of the following current and completed projects to learn more about them. 

Current projects

Completed stormwater research projects (most recently completed at top)

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Completed stormwater research projects (most recently completed at top)

Understanding solids loading in Minnesota stormwater

John Chapman | Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering, CFANS, U of MN

This study will greatly improve characterization of stormwater solids, particularly with respect to mass loadings and nutrient composition. We propose to collect complete samples of stormwater gross solids from watersheds with varying tree canopy, then partition and analyze each sample for size fractions, settling rates, density, and nutrient composition. We also propose to develop improved pollutant input parameters for the widely used P8 model, thus improving the design of stormwater BMPs and watershed analysis. Finally, we propose to develop a simple model to evaluate tradeoffs between street sweeping and catch basin cleanout with respect to environmental goals and cost. 

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Leveraging Minnesota's Stormwater Data for Improved Modeling and Management

Jacques Finlay | Ecology, Evolution & Behavior & St. Anthony Falls Lab, U of MN

The project will distill millions of dollars’ worth of data to produce robust characterization of runoff quantity and quality on event, seasonal, and annual basis, and provide scalable relationships between land cover, climate, and loads of major stormwater pollutants. Data summaries and parameters will be available as an easily accessible resource for cities, stormwater practitioners, and researchers to parameterize widely used models and mapping tools. Analyses developed can be used to reveal and map source areas of major stormwater pollutants, and identify seasonal and hydrologic influences on stormwater quality. The project will provide comprehensive, current and locally-relevant stormwater characterization using data specific to Minnesota’s cities. Centrally available information for stormwater characterization will benefit water resources practitioners, watershed managers, and scientists in the development and cost effective implementation of water quality monitoring programs, management plans, and models.

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Field evaluation of stormwater best management practices to characterize the comprehensive contaminant removal performance of biochar-augmented filter media

Joe Magner | Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering, CFANS, U of MN

The primary objective of this project is to characterize the effectiveness of stormwater best management practices (BMPs) that incorporate biochar-augmented filtration media for comprehensive contaminant removal from stormwater at the catchment scale. While biochar- augmented filtration systems are an emerging technology for improved removal of bacteria and dissolved contaminants from stormwater, little is known regarding (i) the type(s) of biochars that are most effective for comprehensive contaminant removal, and (ii) how biochar maintains its contaminant removal capacity upon field deployment. 

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Biofiltration media optimization – Phase II: Multi-year performance, impacts of road salt, and optimized organic ratio

This study will fill existing knowledge gaps for designing biofiltration media mixes in Minnesota thus allowing practitioners to design biofiltration practices with the best available knowledge of media components in Minnesota.

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Urban stormwater pond research literature review

This literature review is global in scope and therefore considered all peer-reviewed literature that has been published on stormwater ponds in the last 50 years. The review is primarily interested in designed and constructed stormwater ponds, which differ from the many natural ponds and wetlands that have been retrofitted to provide stormwater management.

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Equipping municipalities with climate change data to inform stormwater management

Christina Locke | Humphrey School of Public Affairs, U of M

This project aims to equip local governments with climate change data that is directly applicable and accessible to them.

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Monitoring methods for prioritization and assessment of stormwater practices

Bruce Wilson | Department of Bioproducts and Bioengineering, U of M

The goal of this project is to improve the selection and effectiveness of stormwater practices by evaluating first flush concentrations and the event mean concentrations obtained from different sampling methods.

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Pond treatment with spent lime to control phosphorus release from sediments

Greg Wilson | Barr Engineering

In cooperation with SPRWS, City of White Bear Lake, RWMWD, and VLAWMO staff, Barr Engineering proposes this study to evaluate the application of spent lime (amorphous calcium carbonate from drinking water treatment) to pond sediments to reduce phosphorus release during warm summer months.

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Pollutant removal and maintenance assessment of underground filtration systems

Todd Shoemaker | Wenck Associates

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the stormwater management effectiveness of installed underground sand filters in the Twin Cities Metro Area. 

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Evaluation of microbial and chemical contaminant removals in different stormwater reuse systems

Satoshi Ishii | Department of Soil, Water, and Climate, U of M

The proposed study will analyze the occurrences of various pathogens, antibiotic resistance genes, and chemical contaminants in raw and treated stormwater samples from several reuse facilities in the Twin Cities area.

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Temporal dynamics of pathogens and antibiotic resistance in raw and treated stormwater

Satoshi Ishii | Department of Soil, Water, and Climate, U of M

The proposed study will analyze temporal dynamics of various pathogens and antibiotic resistance genes (ARG) in raw and treated stormwater samples, by using a high-throughput pathogen and ARG quantification tool. 

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Inspiring community action for stormwater management

Mae Davenport | Department of Forest Resources, U of M

Project findings will inform stormwater management and planning across Minnesota. Expected outcomes of this project includes a comprehensive, social-science based framework of drivers and constraints to community action related to stormwater management.

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Identifying sources of contaminants in urban stormwater and evaluation of their removal efficacy across a continuum of urban best management practices

Heiko Schoenfuss | St. Cloud State University

Urban stormwater is a substantial source of trace organic contaminants to aquatic ecosystems. However, sources of these contaminants to urban stormwater are poorly understood as is the efficacy of treatment technologies.

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Detecting phosphorus release from stormwater ponds to guide management and design

John Gulliver | St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, U of M

Dissolved oxygen is a well-known control over P cycling in lakes. Stormwater ponds are designed to mix often to overcome problems associated with low DO. Our studies revealed that ponds mix less frequently than expected due to effects of wind sheltering and road salt. As a consequence, a majority of ponds remain thermally and chemically stratified for much of the summer. 

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Biofiltration media optimization

Andrew Erickson | St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, U of M

The objectives of this research are to:

  1. Identify which local and sustainable biofiltration media are effective for filtration rate, supporting plant growth and microbial function, and that do not release phosphate
  2. Document local sources, simple tests or metrics, and/or design specifications that can be used by practitioners to reliably and repeatably obtain a biofiltration practice that functions as expected.

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Developing a street sweeping credit for stormwater phosphorus source reduction

Sarah Hobbie | Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, U of M

Through a new U of M-MPCA-city partnership, we aim to use to improve empirical models to enable the MPCA to develop and disseminate a stormwater P crediting program for street sweeping. In partnership with three cities (Minneapolis, Roseville, Shoreview), we will develop new empirical relationships among sweeper volume, wet mass of solids, dry mass of solids, and P loads removed by different street sweeper types throughout the snow-free season (spring, summer, fall), across the range of tree canopy covers and species composition typical of Minnesota’s cities.

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Draft stormwater geospatial data standard: pilot and proof-of-concept

Geoffrey Maas | Metropolitan Council

The specific project focuses on data acquisition from existing municipal, county and private sources, translation into the forthcoming standard as well as field checking and ground truthing for completeness.

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Effectiveness of sump manholes for pretreatment particulate removal

John Chapman | Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering, U of M

This study provided a better understanding of the effectiveness of existing sump manholes and catch basins by documenting sediment volume data from actual structures in urban watersheds. 

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Determining which iron minerals in iron-enhanced sand filters remove phosphorus from stormwater runoff

Beth Fisher | Department of Earth Sciences, U of M

We hypothesize that only certain iron minerals will remove phosphorous from water, and our proposed work is to determine which iron minerals make iron-sand filters work efficiently.

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Capture of gross solids and sediment by pretreatment practices for bioretention

Andrew Erickson | St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, U of M

The purpose of this project was to measure the performance of several pretreatment practices for bioretention, both proprietary and non-proprietary, commonly used in Minnesota using field-based performance testing. 

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Characterization of phosphorus release from ponds

John Gulliver | St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, U of M

This study will represent the first stage in research to understand the functioning of stormwater ponds with respect to P removal. This information is crucial for the development of guidelines for the management of ponds for improved P retention.

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Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in stormwater detention ponds

Chunkai Huang | U of M

Researchers will identify the major sources of PAH contamination to stormwater detention pond sediments around the state of Minnesota.

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Stormwater research roadmap and framework for priority needs for the next decade

Lawrence Baker | Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering, U of M

This research project will develop information required to improve stormwater pond maintenance, identify and create a ten-year framework of stormwater research needs, and provide for education and training to disseminate the results. 

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Assessment of stormwater best management practices

James Anderson | Department of Soil, Water, and Climate U of M, and John Gulliver | Department of Civil Engineering, U of M

The University of Minnesota, through contract with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, has developed a Guidance Document that outlined and explained proper methodology for the assessment of stormwater best management practices.

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Enhanced degradation of stormwater petrochemicals within the rhizosphere of rain garden bioretention cells

Paige Novak | Department of Civil Engineering, U of M

We propose to create simulated rain garden systems in columns and analyze the fate of benzene and toluene (gasoline components), and to determine what effects varying vegetation have upon the degradation capacity of these hydrocarbons. It is our hypothesis that legumes, which posses an enhanced microbial community in the rhizosphere of their roots, will facilitate an environment leading to greater biodegradation of these compounds.

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