Effectiveness of Three Best Management Practices for Highway-Runoff Quality along the Southeast Expressway, Boston, Massachusetts

Best management practices (BMPs) near highways are designed to reduce the amount of suspended sediment and associated constituents, including debris and litter, discharged from the roadway surface. The effectiveness of a deep-sumped hooded catch basin, three 2-chambered 1,500-gallon oil-grit separators, and mechanized street sweeping in reducing sediment and associated constituents was examined along the Southeast Expressway (Interstate Route 93) in Boston, Massachusetts. Repeated observations of the volume and distribution of bottom material in the oil-grit separators, including data on particle- size distributions, were compared to data from bottom material deposited during the initial 3 years of operation. The performance of catch-basin hoods and the oil-grit separators in reducing floating debris was assessed by examining the quantity of material retained by each structural BMP compared to the quantity of material retained by and discharged from the oil-grit separators, which received flow from the catch basins. The ability of each structural BMP to reduce suspended-sediment loads was assessed by examining (a) the difference in the concentrations of suspended sediment in samples collected simultaneously from the inlet and outlet of each BMP, and (b) the difference between inlet loads and outlet loads during a 14-month monitoring period for the catch basin and one separator, and a 10- month monitoring period for the second separator. The third separator was not monitored continuously; instead, samples were collected from it during three visits separated in time by several months. Suspended-sediment loads for the entire study area were estimated on the basis of the long-term average annual precipitation and the estimated inlet and outlet loads of two of the separators. The effects of mechanized street sweeping were assessed by evaluating the differences between suspended-sediment loads before and after street sweeping, relative to storm precipitation totals, and by comparing the particle-size distributions of sediment samples collected from the sweepers to bottom-material samples collected from the structural BMPs. A mass-balance calculation was used to quantify the accuracy of the estimated sediment-removal efficiency for each structural BMP. The ability of each structural BMP to reduce concentrations of inorganic and organic constituents was assessed by determining the differences in concentrations between the inlets and outlets of the BMPs for four storms. The inlet flows of the separators were sampled during five storms for analysis of fecal-indicator bacteria. The primary factor controlling the efficiency of each structural BMP in removing suspended sediment was retention time. Concentrations of fecal and Enterococci bacteria were found throughout the storms at the inlets of the two continuously monitored separators; this result indicated that the pavement washoff process was inefficient or that there was a continuous source of bacteria in the drainage area. The efficiency of the structural BMPs tested in this study in reducing fecal-indicator bacteria concentrations was not quantified; each BMP chamber is likely to retain a quantity of fecal-indicator bacteria proportional to its storage volume after a storm. Removal of bacteria from the BMP is dependent on how well the bacteria survive until the next storm and the potential for bacterial export during the next storm.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Appendices; CD-ROM; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 170p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01155112
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: Water-Resources Investigations Report 02-4059
  • Files: TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Apr 20 2010 12:46PM