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Hydrology 2019, 6(1), 16;

Quantifying Thermal Characteristics of Stormwater through Low Impact Development Systems

Program of Landscape Architecture, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849, USA
Department of Biosystems Engineering, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849, USA
McWhorter School of Building Science, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849, USA
College of Agriculture, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Aleksey Y. Sheshukov, Haw Yen, Latif Kalin and Laurent Ahiablame
Received: 28 December 2018 / Revised: 28 January 2019 / Accepted: 30 January 2019 / Published: 5 February 2019
PDF [4733 KB, uploaded 5 February 2019]


Urbanization causes alteration of the thermal regime (surface, air, and water) of the environment. Heated stormwater runoff flows into lakes, streams, bays, and estuaries, which potentially increases the base temperature of the surface water. The amount of heat transferred, and the degree of thermal pollution is of great importance to the ecological integrity of receiving waters. This research reports on a controlled laboratory scale test to assess low impact development (LID) stormwater control measure impacts on the thermal characteristics of stormwater runoff. We hypothesize that LID stormwater control measures (SCMs) such as pervious surfaces and rain gardens/bioretention can be used to mitigate the ground level thermal loads from stormwater runoff. Laboratory methods in this study captured and infiltrated simulated stormwater runoff from four infrared heated substrate microcosms (pervious concrete, impervious concrete, permeable concrete pavers, and turf grass), and routed the stormwater through rain garden microcosms. A data logging system with thermistors located on, within, and at exits of the microcosms, recorded resulting stormwater temperature flux. Researchers compared steady state temperatures of the laboratory to previously collected field data and achieved between 30% to 60% higher steady state surface temperatures with indoor than outdoor test sites. This research helps establish baseline data to study heat removal effectiveness of pervious materials when used alone or in combination as a treatment train with other stormwater control measures such as rain gardens/bioretention. View Full-Text
Keywords: thermal pollution; stormwater; thermally enriched stream; thermal load reduction; low impact development thermal pollution; stormwater; thermally enriched stream; thermal load reduction; low impact development

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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LeBleu, C.; Dougherty, M.; Rahn, K.; Wright, A.; Bowen, R.; Wang, R.; Orjuela, J.A.; Britton, K. Quantifying Thermal Characteristics of Stormwater through Low Impact Development Systems. Hydrology 2019, 6, 16.

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