WERF project looks at larger stormwater pollutants

The Water Environment Research Foundation is conducting comprehensive project to evaluate larger pollutants -- such as trash and visible debris -- in urban stormwater runoff. The project will compile, evaluate, and recommend sampling methods for these materials. PBS&J's urban stormwater expert Michael Bloom, will serve on the committee to oversee the project...

HOUSTON, TX, April 20, 2006 -- Urban stormwater runoff is a major contributor of pollutants to rivers, lakes, streams, and oceans. The effects on receiving waters from suspended solids, oils, metals, and similar pollutants have been well documented. Now, a new Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) research project is looking at larger pollutants -- such as trash and visible debris -- in urban stormwater runoff.

Larger pollutants can have an adverse effect on receiving water quality. Bed load sediments can harm fish spawning areas. Trash and floating debris can diminish the aesthetics of recreational waters, while some urban runoff debris can pose health hazards to bathers.

The WERF research project will compile, evaluate, and recommend sampling methods for these materials. A report summarizing the current state of stormwater solids characterization and sampling techniques has been completed and reviewed. Future deliverables will include a solids classification system and a decision tree based on environmental end points.

"Improving our classification and measurement of larger solids in both stormwater and receiving waters will result in a better understanding of what is in urban runoff as well as improved methods of evaluating the performance of stormwater control strategies and, ultimately, better protection and restoration of receiving waters," says Michael F. Bloom, P.E., CFM, DEE, a stormwater expert.

Bloom, a senior engineer in the Houston office of consulting firm PBS&J, serves on the project subcommittee for "Improved Monitoring Methods for Stormwater-Borne Solids" (WERF 04-SW-4). Bloom was selected for his expertise in both stormwater quality monitoring and monitoring protocol development and implementation. He also participated in developing the research project's scope.

"As an active WERF subscriber, PBS&J is honored to have another of its expert employees serve on a project subcommittee, particularly in WERF's stormwater research program," says John Shearer, P.E., DEE, PBS&J's National Environmental Service Director.

The project subcommittee, a group of peers comprised of national experts, will ensure an unbiased, balanced and comprehensive approach to the research project. Other members include Ben Urbonas, Denver Urban Drainage and Flood Control District; Darrin Peine, city of Charlotte, NC, Storm Water Division; Oizhong (George) Guo, Rutgers University; Jim Lenhart, Stormwater360 (now CONTECH Stormwater Solutions); and Richard Field, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Dr. Larry Roesner of Colorado State University was selected to lead the research as principal investigator.

Bloom brings extensive research experience to the WERF project. He recently served on the wet weather technical track planning committee for a 2005 Water Environment Federation Conference. In 2004, he presented a summary of the latest literature on floatables control at the EPA Region 6 Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Operator's Conference in New Orleans. Bloom is a member of the Stormwater Technology Panel of EPA's Environmental Technologies Verification Program for which he has helped develop the program's verification protocol for stormwater source area treatment technologies.

PBS&J (www.pbsj.com) serves public and private clients in meeting the challenging planning, environmental, engineering, architecture, construction management, and program management needs of its clients. The employee-owned firm is ranked by Engineering News-Record as 21st among the nation's top consulting firms. PBS&J has 3,800 employees and more than 70 offices located throughout the United States and abroad.

The Water Environment Research Foundation (www.werf.org) is a nonprofit organization that helps utilities and corporations preserve the water environment and protect human health by providing science and technology research to enhance management of our water resources.

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