Nutrients in Urban Stormwater Runoff: Current State of the Science and Potential Mitigation Options
- 272 Downloads
Purpose of Review
Stormwater runoff of nutrients from developed landscapes is recognized as a major threat to water quality degradation through cultural eutrophication, which can lead to ecosystem imbalances and harmful algal growth. This review summarizes the current state-of-knowledge on the occurrence, sources, and transport processes of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) in urban stormwater runoff and describes strategies for nutrient management of urban stormwater runoff. Future research needs identified from this review are provided as well.
Stormwater runoff of nutrients from urban environments to fresh water is controlled by multiple factors, including type of inputs, land use, development patterns, and management strategies. Recent research on stormwater management strategies has focused on internal nutrient cycling processes, such as microbial transformations of N in conventional wet ponds or bioretention cells, leading to a better understanding of the mechanisms that control the efficacy of stormwater management practices.
Mitigating nutrient exports from urban environments will require controlling both quantities and sources of nutrient inputs into water systems, as well as new mechanistic understanding of the biogeochemical processes controlling nutrient treatment in stormwater ponds and low impact design (LID) structures. We need more research on source tracking of P from stormwater runoff as information is still relatively scarce. There is also a need to obtain better understanding of the dynamic interactions among multiple factors (e.g., sources, land use, characteristic of catchment and climate, management strategies) that control fate and transport of nutrients in urban stormwater runoff.
KeywordsNitrogen Phosphorus Stormwater runoff Urban water quality Stormwater management
Y-Y. Y and M.G.L contributed equally to this work.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance
- 1.Guan MF, Sillanpaa N, Koivusalo H. Storm runoff response to rainfall pattern, magnitude and urbanization in a developing urban catchment. Hydrol Process. 2016;30:543–57.Google Scholar
- 11.Tondera K, Blecken G-T, Tournebize J, Mander Ü, Tanner CC. Nutrient removal from variable stormwater flows. In Ecotechnologies for the treatment of variable stormwater and wastewater flows, Springer; 2018. pp. 31–55.Google Scholar
- 12.U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Results of the nationwide urban runoff program. volume III-data appendix. Washington, DC: Water Planning Division; 1983; WH-554, PB84e185578. p. 207.Google Scholar
- 13.U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The national stormwater quality database, version 1.1. A complication and analysis of NPDES stormwater monitoring information. Washington, DC. 2005.Google Scholar
- 14.Smullen J, Cave KA. National stormwater runoff pollution database. In: Field R, Sullivan D, editors. Wet-weather flow in the urban watershed. Boca Raton: Lewis Publishers; 2002.Google Scholar
- 17.•• Lusk MG, Toor GS. Biodegradability and molecular composition of dissolved organic nitrogen in urban stormwater runoff and outflow water from a stormwater retention pond. Environ Sci Technol. 2016;50:3391–8. This article provides a novel approach to investigating the biodegradability and molecular composition of organic nitrogen in urban stormwater runoff and retention ponds. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 28.Groffman PM, Law NL, Belt KT, Band LE, Fisher GT. Nitrogen fluxes and retention in urban watershed ecosystems. Ecosystems. 2004;7:393–403.Google Scholar
- 30.•• Hobbie SE, Finlay JC, Janke BD, Nidzgorski DA, Millet DB, Baker LA. Contrasting nitrogen and phosphorus budgets in urban watersheds and implications for managing urban water pollution. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017;114:4177–82. This article shows a comparsion of urban watershed N and P budgets and describes the ways to reduce nutrient pollution from urban landscapes. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 35.Waschbusch RJ, Selbig WR, Bannerman RT. Sources of phosphorus in stormwater and street dirt from two urban residential basins in Madison, Wisconsin, 1994–95: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report. 1999;99–4021. p. 47.Google Scholar
- 50.Baker L, Kalinosky P, Hobbie S, Bintner R, Buyarksi C. Quantifying nutrient removal by enhanced street sweeping. Stormwater. 2014;15:16–23.Google Scholar
- 53.Fore LS. Effectiveness of public education and outreach programs for reducing impacts of stormwater on rivers and streams. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/769e/1020503d435102ecfc6c3df6131295764341.pdf. Accessed 15 Aug 2017.
- 56.Hartman R, Alcock F, Pettit C. The spread of fertilizer ordinances in Florida. Sea Grant Law & Policy Journal. 2008;1:98–115.Google Scholar
- 66.WERF International stormwater BMP database: 2016 summary statistics; 2017.Google Scholar
- 68.•• Liu J, Sample D, Bell C, Guan Y. Review and research needs of bioretention used for the treatment of urban stormwater. Water. 2014;6:1069–99. This review offers a thorough discussion of bioretention used for the urban stormwater treatment of numerous pollutants, as well as valuable insights into the future direction of bioretention design. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 72.Lopez EV, Lynn TJ, Peterson M, Ergas SJ, Trotz MA, In Mihelcic JR. Enhanced nutrient management of stormwater through a field demonstration of nitrogen removal in a modified bioretention system. World Environ Water Resour Congr. 2016:60–9.Google Scholar
- 85.James W, von Langsdorff H. Towards restoring infiltration in permeable pavers—initial demonstration of rapid clean-out concepts. J Water Manag Model. 2016; https://doi.org/10.14796/JWMM.C405.
- 107.Lewis DB, Grimm NB. Hierarchical regulation of nitrogen export from urban catchments: interactions of storms and landscapes. Ecol Appl. 2007;17:2347–64.Google Scholar
- 111.• Hale RL, Turnbull L, Earl SR, Childers DL, Grimm NB. Stormwater infrastructure controls runoff and dissolved material export from arid urban watersheds. Ecosystems. 2015;18:62–75. This article describes how stormwater infrastructure design, land use, and storm characteristics affect nutrient loads from urban watershed ecosystems over time and space. CrossRefGoogle Scholar