The transportation of pollutants from impervious surfaces during runoff events to receiving water bodies is a serious environmental problem. Summer runoff is also heated by impervious surfaces, causing thermal enrichment in receiving water body systems and degradation of coldwater aquatic ecosystems. End-of-pipe stormwater management facilities that are open to the environment can result in further elevated temperatures due to exposure to solar radiation. Receiving water systems that provide coldwater habitat require cool water temperatures to sustain healthy conditions for cold water flora and fauna (e.g., trout, dace). Underground Stormwater Detention Chambers (USDC) are a technology for the detention and treatment of stormwater runoff that can potentially solve the thermal issues associated with sun-exposed detention facilities while still providing an equivalent level of treatment services for stormwater pollutants. A field study of an USDC located in Southern Ontario was undertaken to characterize its treatment performance and effect on water temperature. The results were: the USDC was found to provide similar levels of stormwater treatment as wet detention ponds. On average, outlet maximum temperatures were 5 °C cooler than inlet maximum temperatures, and outlet water temperatures remained within the thermal regime for coldwater fish habitat throughout the evaluation period. There was little to no stratification of temperature, nor dissolved solids, but stratification of dissolved oxygen was observed mid-winter and into the spring.
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