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Article

Managing Stormwater by Accident: A Conceptual Study

1
Department of Geology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
2
Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
3
Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC 28608, USA
4
Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC 28608, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: C. Radu Gogu
Water 2021, 13(11), 1492; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13111492
Received: 26 April 2021 / Revised: 23 May 2021 / Accepted: 24 May 2021 / Published: 26 May 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Hydrogeology Studies)
Stormwater-driven road salt is a chronic and acute issue for streams in cold, urban environments. One promising approach for reducing the impact of road salt contamination in streams and adjacent aquifers is to allow “accidental wetlands” to flourish in urban areas. These wetlands form naturally as a byproduct of human activities. In this study, we quantified the ability of an accidental wetland in northwestern North Carolina, USA, to reduce the timing and peak concentration of road salt in a stream. Monitoring suggests that flow and transport processes through the wetland reduce peak concentrations and delay their arrival at the adjacent stream. We expand these findings with numerical simulations that model multiple meltwater and summer storm event scenarios. The model output demonstrates that small accidental wetland systems can reduce peak salinities by 94% and delay the arrival of saltwater pulses by 45 days. Our findings indicate that accidental wetlands improve stream water quality and they may also reduce peak temperatures during temperature surges in urban streams. Furthermore, because they find their own niche, accidental wetlands may be more effective than some intentionally constructed wetlands, and provide opportunities to explore managing stormwater by letting nature take its course. View Full-Text
Keywords: accidental wetland; road salt; urban hydrogeology; headwater stream accidental wetland; road salt; urban hydrogeology; headwater stream
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MDPI and ACS Style

Maas, C.M.; Anderson, W.P., Jr.; Cockerill, K. Managing Stormwater by Accident: A Conceptual Study. Water 2021, 13, 1492. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13111492

AMA Style

Maas CM, Anderson WP Jr., Cockerill K. Managing Stormwater by Accident: A Conceptual Study. Water. 2021; 13(11):1492. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13111492

Chicago/Turabian Style

Maas, Carly M.; Anderson, William P., Jr.; Cockerill, Kristan. 2021. "Managing Stormwater by Accident: A Conceptual Study" Water 13, no. 11: 1492. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13111492

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