Stormwater management is a continuing challenge at all Department of Defense (DoD) facilities. Stormwater discharges are regulated under federal and state permits yet are implicated as a major cause of contamination of sediment near discharge points at or close to DoD sites. Regulators and local communities are applying increasing pressure on coastal DoD facilities to further protect water bodies by reducing the magnitude and concentration of industrial site chemicals being discharged in stormwater runoff. Conversely, for facilities in arid regions, stormwater is viewed as a “lost” freshwater resource. Opportunities for water beneficial reuse to supplement diminishing supplies exist if adequate pollutant removal can be achieved.
SERDP recognized the nexus of need and opportunity for stormwater management in the 2016 Workshop Report. Ongoing research investments are geared toward monitoring tools and improving best management practices (BMPs) to reduce contaminant loads to water bodies, passive treatment systems to minimize or prevent sediment contamination, while critically examining these systems for opportunities to provide for freshwater harvest and beneficial reuse. A description of these ongoing and recently completed projects is provided below.
Low Impact Development/Best Management Practices
Mr. Gary Anguiano and his team from the U.S. Naval Facilities Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center demonstrated and validated a Low Impact Development/Best Management Practice (LID/BMP) passive stormwater treatment system at the U.S. Naval Base Point Loma in San Diego. The LID/BMP system treated water from an industrial facilities area that contained high levels of metals, oil and grease, and total suspended solids. Stormwater was channeled first to the LID and passed downward through a pre-treatment filter gabion, drought-tolerant vegetation, a composite biofiltration soil media, and gravel. Water passing through the LID then passed to a media filter BMP consisting of bone char and activated alumina. The project demonstrated the effectiveness of the LID/BMP through 16 separate stormwater events and was able to achieve below discharge limits for copper, zinc, oil and grease, and total suspended solids. (Project Overview)
Ms. Heidi Howard of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Engineer Research and Development Center developed and demonstrated a Stormwater Management Optimization Toolbox. The modeling tool is specifically designed to help DoD facilities achieve compliance with regulatory stormwater requirements, optimizing runoff management and infiltrations with properly sized BMP solutions at the lowest practicable cost. The toolbox was assessed over varying climates and regions at several installations across the country. (Project Overview)
Dr. Dick Luthy and his team at Stanford University are advancing stormwater BMPs for pollution control, with a goal of treating the water to levels to allow harvest and reuse. The targeted sites for these BMPs are at DoD facilities in arid regions. To date, the project has been identifying and testing combinations of activated carbon and other geomedia in column studies to determine the optimal combinations to be deployed in a field demonstration. Also, this work will identify the optimal size and flow design of the BMP. Dr. Luthy and his team have developed a novel and innovative way to create “synthetic” stormwater using stormwater catch-basin sediments from DoD sites. Chemicals of interest being targeted include metals, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The outcome from this work is anticipated to be a demonstrated BMP at a DoD installation as well as development of a guidance manual for improved stormwater control measures using these LID/BMP systems. (Project Overview)
Monitoring and Modeling Tools for Stormwater Control