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Summer 2011

Issue #43

In This Issue
Runoff Ramblings: Illicit Discharges
Identifying Illicit Wastewater Discharges in Vermont
Pollution Source Detection in Coastal Watersheds
Center Sewage Sleuths Report: Part 2
Trainings and Conferences
Cool Links
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The Summer 2011 issue of Runoff Rundown is here! If your summer has been boring so far, we are here to spice it up with something illicit...discharges, that is.  The Center has been conducting illicit discharge surveys and research for several years now and we think it is an important issue that deserves greater attention, given the findings from our work and from others around the country.  So, we've included a series of illicit discharge detection and elimination (IDDE)-related articles in this issue, and we also have some short IDDE videos posted under Cool Links.  We hope you are enjoying the summer and, as always, if you have suggestions for future content, or would like to contribute to Runoff Rundown, email us at


Click here to view this newsletter on the web.

Runoff Ramblings: Illicit Discharges

By Hye Yeong Kwon


At the Center, we've have a supposition about illicit discharges-- in many cities and counties, they represent a leading source of bacteria and other pollutants entering our waterways, yet the pervasiveness and severity of the problem are largely unknown or  misunderstood. Illicit discharges, caused by broken sewer pipes, cross connections, and/or illegal dumping, are often comprised of raw sewage, detergents, or toxic industrial discharges. The problem is that our streams and other waterways are the direct recipients of these sewage and toxic discharges. Although the Center's data is admittedly limited, what it shows is rather astonishing- based on Center case studies in the mid-Atlantic, illicit discharges can represent a significant portion of overall pollutant loads in urban watersheds, including loads from stormwater. In fact, initial estimates show simply fixing the illicit discharges could substantially reduce health risks associated with many water bodies.


Because much of the storm sewer system is hidden underground, many of these discharges go undetected unless there is an obvious, major break in a pipe. In one Maryland County, for example, officials reported an unusually low number of illicit discharges along an approximately 10-mile long urban stream. However, by making some simple updates to the techniques of detecting illicit discharges, we found over 180 new outfalls that were never shown on the mapping (an average of one previously unidentified outfall per 300 feet). In addition, of the 58 flowing pipes along this stream, over 30 had indicators of sewage-indicators like ammonia detection that the County does not typically use in its outfall screening program.  We estimate that 96% of the total E. coli in this stream during dry weather comes from outfalls that are suspected of having illicit discharges.


If these discharges are fixed, the County should be able to meet State bacterial standards for recreation at least during dry weather. We conservatively estimate that the flow from these outfalls also generates about 24 lbs of nitrogen and 0.8 lbs of phosphorus per day. On an annual basis, these loads are equivalent to the nitrogen in stormwater runoff from 560 acres of impervious cover, and the phosphorus generated by 140 acres of impervious cover.  At an estimated average cost of about $10,000 per repair[1], removing these discharges would cost the County $300,000.  By comparison, it would cost over $50 million to achieve the same nitrogen reductions and over $7 million to achieve the same phosphorus reductions using bioretention retrofits.[2] 


One reason for the lack of recognition of illicit discharges is the technology used to detect them.  Many jurisdictions suffer from outdated field methods (i.e. testing parameters), tracking pipes of only 36" or above, and lack of outfall mapping. Walking the streams, updating mapping, and utilizing updated monitoring techniques are a few of the ways that communities can update their practices.


A second reason is related to public policy.  While current regulations mandate an illicit discharge detection and elimination program for many cities and counties, the regulations alone are obviously not adequate. For example, it can be confusing where illicit discharges fall-are they the responsibility of wastewater or stormwater programs? In the localities where we've looked, stormwater departments have the programmatic responsibility for detection, but not the capacity for elimination if a structural fix is required. Tools available to stormwater programs like closed circuit TV, smoke testing, dye injection, staffing and expertise are also limiting factors.


In addition, the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program does not currently have a system to credit local governments for fixing their illicit discharges through the TMDL process-- not exactly an incentive to update their programs when local governments are already faced with challenging budget problems (Although since alerted to the issue, Bay Program has started discussing credits for illicit discharges in the Bay model).


Finally, there is a credibility issue. To many, the idea that raw sewage is going into U.S. streams is implausible -- it's more of a third world issue. At the same time, it seems so obvious and simple, and the numbers from many studies (Lilly & Sturm, 2010; Lilly, Hoffmann & Law, 2011; Lilly & Hoffmann, 2011; Washtenaw County, 1988; Pitt and McLean, 1986; and Pelletier and Determan, 1988) demonstrate that the very real impacts of illicit discharges can't be ignored.


Certainly, the potential for bad public relations and lack of funds don't help the issue. However, if we could make our local waters substantially cleaner, and in many cases at a substantially lower cost than treating the pollutants through structural stormwater  practices, wouldn't every community do it? And shouldn't there be incentives to local communities to do the right thing? There is strong evidence that illicit discharges are a huge part of the pollutant problem in the Chesapeake Bay and in other parts of the country. Regulators, advocates, and local governments should work to encourage the elimination of illicit discharges as a first step to cleaning our local waters rather than a foregone conclusion that the issue has been addressed simply because an MS4 program requirement has been "checked off."

[1] $10,000 is a very high cost assumption.  The Center's Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination Handbook (2004) estimates costs of $2,500 per cross connection repair.

[2] The Watershed Treatment Model was used for these comparisons.  Assumes 40" of rainfall per year, and N and P concentrations of 2.0mg/l and 0.26mg/l, respectively, in urban runoff.  For bioretention costs, assumes application on A soils, annual runoff reduction of 50%, and TN and TP efficiencies of 65% and 55%, respectively.  The practices are designed for a 1" design storm, and with an assumed cost of $20.00 per cubic foot. 

Identifying Illicit Wastewater Discharges in Vermont 

Dave Braun, Water Quality Scientist, Stone Environmental Inc.

Jim Pease, Senior Scientist, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation


Raw sanitary wastewater is easy to identify. But what if wastewater leaks from a sewer line and becomes diluted with groundwater, which is then intercepted by a stormdrain and discharged to a river; can we detect it then? Possibly, given the right test conditions and dogged persistence.


My name is Dave Braun and I am a water quality scientist at Stone Environmental in Montpelier, Vermont. For the last several years I've been sleuthing for sanitary wastewater and other contaminated flows in stormwater drainage systems in non-MS4 towns in Vermont. Most of this work is funded by the Ecosystem Restoration Program at the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation. Jim Pease, a senior scientist with the department and co-author of this article, coordinates the development of baseline stormwater infrastructure maps for each community prior to the illicit discharge assessment, which enables Stone to perform an efficient assessment. We have identified 89 towns to assess and have completed that assessment on about one quarter of those to date. In most towns we've found one or more sources of wastewater entering stormdrains and discharging to streams. On average, we find dry weather flows in half the outfalls we assess and evidence of wastewater in about 4% of them. We've also found petroleum-contaminated groundwater from contaminated sites (former industrial sites, gas stations, a town public works garage), contaminated discharges from industrial facilities, and municipal tap water leaks.


We typically sample at stormdrain outfalls and at selected catchbasins and manholes during dry weather, when illicit discharges and other contaminated flows are not diluted by stormwater. The first step is to describe the condition of the discharge point and any dry weather flows. The nose is a sensitive detector, and I encourage everyone working on these assessments to use theirs as best they can. We then collect samples for analysis of ammonia, anionic detergents (methylene blue active substances), electrical conductivity, and fluoride, assuming the municipal water supply is fluoridated, or total chlorine if it is not. At every flowing outfall and in selected catchbasins and manholes, we secure cotton pads enclosed in plastic mesh in the flow stream, for detection of optical brighteners, which are fluorescent dyes added to most laundry detergents. The pads are left in place for about a week, then rinsed, dried, and viewed under a long-wave ultraviolet lamp. Fluorescence usually indicates presence of laundry detergents, although oil can cause false positive results.


When test data suggest wastewater contamination, we return to collect samples for E. coli and nutrient analysis. High E. coli levels are a strong indication of wastewater contamination, although even apparently uncontaminated dry weather flows can have elevated E. coli levels. In fact, none of the tests we conduct can definitively differentiate between diluted wastewater sources and uncontaminated stormwater or groundwater. We therefore take a weight-of-evidence approach in interpreting the data to determine which dry weather flows are likely to be contaminated. This determines where we conduct further investigations. Here are some rules of thumb we've developed in interpreting water quality test data, to distinguish between wastewater contamination and non-contaminated flows, along with potential interferences and other considerations:


We have tried to use methods that are simple, low cost and effective. The hardest part comes after dry weather flows have been assessed and the sources of contaminants have been isolated to segments of the stormwater drainage systems to the best of our ability. After the water quality testing comes the "find and fix" stage, where the accidents of plumbing and failures of infrastructure are hopefully revealed and corrected. Certain Vermont cities and towns have investigated the sources of contaminants using their staff and resources. Using data collected by my team, Montpelier located and eliminated several direct sanitary wastewater connections to stormwater drainage systems through closed circuit television inspection and dye testing. Many other communities (smaller villages) lack the resources or skills to take on the investigation work themselves, and it is here that we've partnered with Vermont Rural Water Association (VRWA) to assist them.


In total, the team has assessed approximately 800 discharge points. Water quality testing indicated wastewater sources at 32 locations, petroleum discharges at 15 locations, and drinking water leaks at 16 locations. Stone and VTDEC estimate that these IDDE efforts have decreased phosphorus loading to Lake Champlain by 230 kg per year and have reduced the risks of pathogen exposure. Our work has also addressed a variety of other problems identified through the IDDE surveys, such as water leaks, trash dumping, improper disposal of pet waste, and runoff from vehicle washing.


Despite these improvements, some potential water quality problems remain unresolved. Given the intermittent nature of some illicit discharges and the many technical challenges inherent in finding sources of contamination in buried infrastructure, this is to be expected. The recommended approach is to implement a targeted program to resample and further investigate the unresolved cases.


Detecting illicit discharges and finding and fixing them is a field science. As we practice this science, we refine our methods and our ability to correctly interpret the data improves. In the future we expect to perform water quality tests that provide more definitive information than many of the current tests. We are particularly interested in definitive tests for human wastes, including tests for pharmaceuticals (including acetaminophen and ibuprofen), caffeine, and fecal steroids. At this time, these exotic tests are prohibitively expensive.


As method development continues, we expect to be able to use these tests, and others, to help Vermont communities identify longstanding sources of water pollution.


For more information on Stone Environmental Inc., please visit  

Pollution Source Detection in Coastal Watersheds   

By Lori Lilly


The impacts of sewage sources to coastal waterways can be significant.  Excessive concentrations of nutrients and bacteria from these sources can move straight into tidal systems with very little processing, affecting shellfish beds, submerged aquatic vegetation, recreational uses, and coral reefs.  Sewage in coastal areas can come from similar sources as inland watersheds, such as from combined sewer overflows, sanitary sewer overflows, and illicit connections.  However, failing septic systems, particularly from near-shore areas, may be a more prevalent source than inland areas. 


Searching for sewage sources in coastal watersheds offers additional challenges to watershed managers and advocates.  Illicit discharge detection and elimination (IDDE) programs operated under local MS4 permits face challenges associated with the tide and the selection of appropriate water quality indicators, which can be different for saltwater versus freshwater.  Low and medium density residential areas along the coast may also be impacting water quality if septic systems are failing; but these areas often fall outside of MS4 jurisdiction.  Detecting failing septic systems can be a challenge since there is no point source (outfall) to sample.  Yet, finding and fixing these sewage sources can be particularly important in coastal areas that are used by the public for recreation, given the risks associated with bacterial contamination. 


The Center has been working to refine IDDE methodology in coastal communities and develop methodology for near shore pollution source detection in areas without outfalls, referred to as a shoreline survey (Table 1).  The techniques for each are similar to methodology presented in Brown et al (2004) in that we promote a multi-parameter, weight-of-evidence approach. The process and water quality indicators may change slightly depending on the situation, but the basic strategy emphasizes moving from study to management actions.



The approach that we are suggesting for these types of systems is outlined below.


 1)     Understand the system.  Answering some key questions about the watershed will help to frame your approach.  Some questions to consider include: Does the watershed have free flowing outfalls (e.g., the water has a definite drop from the end of the pipe)?  Are outfalls inundated by the tide for some or all of the time?  What is the extent of the tidal reach (often referred to as the head of tide)?  Is the water brackish or marine and, if so, what is the extent of saltwater influence?


 2)     Choose your pollution indicators.  According to Brown et al (2004), good pollution indicators exhibit some key characteristics such as 1) significant differences in concentrations between possible pollutant sources; 2) small variations in concentrations within each likely pollutant source category; 3) conservative behavior, that is, no significant change in concentration due to physical, chemical or biological processes; and 4) ease of measurement with adequate detection limits, good sensitivity and repeatability.  Recommended indicators for freshwater and saltwater are listed in Table 2.  The science and breadth of indicators that can be used is expanding, so keep track of the latest science.  Also, consider collecting total nitrogen and total phosphorus for quantification of the pollution load and benefit when sources are eliminated.



3)     Know your baseline or reference conditions.  Choose some un-impacted areas of the watershed to collect reference samples for the pollution indicators.  If both fresh and saltwater are present in the watershed, measure reference conditions in each.  If possible, also measure baseline conditions of spring water, groundwater and tap water.


4)     Conduct the initial screening effort. Preferentially, walk or boat entire stream or shoreline reaches to ensure maximum coverage.  Conduct the screening during dry weather and an ebbing tide to capture land-based sources of pollution.  If outfall pipes are submerged, sample from a manhole or inlet that is unaffected by tide.  Increase sampling effort in higher density areas.  Along shoreline areas, sample at stream mouths, in coves and near hotspot areas such as marinas or bathing beaches.


5)     Isolate and eliminate pollution sources.  The initial screening effort may require iteration and repeated sampling in order to isolate sources.  If outfall pipes are present, working back "up-the-pipe" may be necessary.  In tidal areas, broken lines or cross connections between the stormwater and sanitary systems may occur BELOW your sampling point, making isolation of the source difficult.


6)     Re-sample.  After sources have been eliminated, continue sampling the impacted area to ensure that all sources were properly identified and remediated.



Amador, José A., David Sotomayor-Ramírez, Gustavo Martínez, Lixan Chen and Dave Bachoon. 2008.  Lakes & Reservoirs: Research and Management 13:301-317.

Center Sewage Sleuths Report: Part 2

By Lori Lilly


In the Fall 2010 issue of Runoff Rundown, we reported on a watershed-scale study conducted by the Center in Baltimore, MD that depicted a "snapshot" of the impact of illicit discharges on receiving waters.  The results of the study presented a strong argument for the case that illicit discharges were one, if not the, primary source of water quality impairment in Baltimore waters.  But how transferable were the impacts that we saw in Baltimore to other cities in the Chesapeake Bay?  To answer this question, we conducted a second watershed-scale study of illicit discharges, this time in the Sligo Creek watershed in Montgomery County, MD.  The results are compelling and continue to point to the elimination of illicit discharges as a first necessary step for restoring urban streams, meeting water quality standards and addressing total maximum daily loads (TMDLs).


Montgomery County is a Phase I MS4 and is therefore required to implement an illicit discharge detection and elimination (IDDE) program as part of their stormwater permit.  The County's outfall screening program is typical of many Phase I and II communities and therefore allowed us to compare a "traditional" IDDE program that is exemplified by the EPA and states throughout the country with the methods outlined in Brown et al (2004).   


The Center staff, Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) staff and a cadre of volunteers conducted the initial outfall screening along approximately 10 miles of stream in Sligo Creek, almost the entire stream length in the watershed, in January, 2010.  A total of 213 outfalls were assessed during the initial screening.  All outfalls that were encountered were sampled when dry weather flow was found.  Outfalls with no flow were assessed for physical indicators such as pipe benthic growth, corrosion, algae, poor pool quality and other indicators of the presence of intermittent discharges. 


Outfalls observed to have flow were investigated using the outfall reconnaissance inventory (ORI) technique described in Brown et al (2004).  Flow and ammonia field measurement were obtained in the field.  Samples were collected from each flowing outfall and analyzed later in the day by CWP or Montgomery County staff for potassium, fluoride, anionic surfactants, and E. coli.  Another sample was sent off to an external lab for analysis of total nitrogen and total phosphorus.  Montgomery County DEP also collected additional measurements for their MS4 permit including temperature, pH, phenols, copper, chlorine and conductivity. 


Four in-stream measurements were collected in the upper, middle, and lower parts of the watershed.  At these sites, discharge was measured using a pygmy meter and a sample was collected and analyzed for total nitrogen and total phosphorus.  Collecting an in-stream measurement with discharge allows us to compare the nutrient load from the outfalls and compare that to the nutrient load in the stream itself.  Nutrient load estimates were generated from these grab samples and assumed to remain constant over an entire day.   The estimates were also made using a conservative approach whereby a "background level" was subtracted from the original concentration.   


Of the 213 outfalls screened, we found that 27% of the outfalls assessed had dry weather flow.  Of the 58 outfalls with flow, 81% exceeded thresholds established for illicit discharges.  60% of the samples had "hits" for ammonia, the primary indicator of wastewater.


Nutrient loads were summed for all of the outfalls and compared to the downstream in-stream load.  Loads from all outfalls were nearly equivalent to those seen in-stream for both nitrogen and phosphorus (see Figure 1 for nitrogen).  Figure 1 also shows that the majority of the nutrient load in the stream itself comes from outfalls "suspect" for illicit discharges based on water quality testing.  In addition, more than 95% of all the E. coli coming from outfalls came from those outfalls that were obvious or suspect for illicit discharges compared to "clean" outfalls (Figure 2).      


Figure 1

 Figure 1. Total nitrogen load from outfalls compared to in-stream load.


Figure 2

Figure 2. Total E. coli concentrations from suspect or obvious illicit discharge outfalls in Sligo Creek.


The work in Sligo Creek also showed that the indicators used in an IDDE program can make a significant difference in the number of detections that a jurisdiction finds as well as the resultant pollutant reduction after their elimination.  By adding ammonia, potassium, fluoride and bacteria as indicators to Montgomery County's IDDE program, the County may be able to detect over 20% more illicit discharges resulting in 17-68% more reduction in total phosphorus and 50-200% more reduction in total nitrogen.  It should be kept in mind that although the IDDE program satisfies conditions set forth in the MS4 permit, achieving these reductions also helps to meet local and Bay TMDLs for nutrients and bacteria.  



Howard County Watershed Stewards Academy: Call for Participants


The Center for Watershed Protection is in the process of working with its partners Howard County Government, University of Maryland Extension- Howard County, Columbia Association, and Howard County Legacy Leadership Institute for the Environment, to develop a Howard County Watershed Stewards Academy for sometime in early 2012. This is a certification process primarily for residents in Howard County, MD and adjoining regions. We are looking for residents who are interested in going through this intensive 14 week program to learn about ways to improve the landscape of the region by creating and completing projects that will decrease the amount of polluted runoff and reduce the pollution entering our local water bodies and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay. The Howard County Watershed Stewards Academy will be modeled after the Anne Arundel County Master Watershed Stewards Program and the National Capital Watershed Stewards Academy.


If you are interested in the program, please send an email with your complete contact information to Hye Yeong Kwon at We'd like to contact you about what you'd like to see in this program and how we might best design it to meet those needs. For further questions you can contact Hye Yeong Kwon at  


Watershed Superstar


The Association of Watershed and Stormwater Professionals (AWSPs) is happy to announce Carmel Kinsella Brown as the winner of the Fall 2011 Watershed Superstar contest. Learn more about Carmel and her contributions in the Fall 2011 Watershed Science Bulletin. We received an impressive collection of more than 50 applications for Watershed Superstar. Each applicant has made a significant and positive impact on his or her local watershed, and some have done so at national and international levels! The dedication and commitment shown by these applicants demonstrates what can be done to protect and restore our watersheds - one project, one mile, at a time. Congratulations to everyone for their contributions!


Watershed Science Bulletin Article Solicitations 


AWSPs is currently soliciting short (5,000 words or less) articles for the Spring and Fall 2012 issues of the Bulletin.


Spring 2012: The Application of Monitoring and Modeling in Watershed Management  

This issue will feature the practical applications of monitoring and modeling to assess watersheds and how these tools are used to inform the decision making process to protect or improve watershed health. As watersheds encompass land, people and water, research on the economic, social, hydrologic, chemical and biological aspects of watershed monitoring and modeling will be considered. Topics related to the evaluation of specific models, technologies or equipment will not be considered.

Deadline for Submissions is October 5, 2011


Fall 2012: Watershed Planning

Development and implementation of watershed-based plans have been a popular approach to water resources management since they were first promoted by EPA and other agencies in the late 1980s. This issue will feature research on the current status of watershed plans and their effectiveness in protecting water resources and will highlight innovative watershed-based policies, tools, funding mechanisms, and new data that can assist communities developing watershed plans.

Deadline for Submissions is April 6, 2012


Click here for submission information 

Trainings and Conferences    

Center Webcast: Rainwater Harvesting as a Stormwater Management Practice 

September 14, 2011, 12-2 Eastern

Cost: $149


Rainwater Harvesting is a multi-tasking BMP -however its use for stormwater management is not widespread, and there have been questions about how to credit volume and pollutant reductions from the practice. This webcast will address different storage and reuse configurations and some quantitative methods to account for stormwater benefits. Several case studies will be presented.   


Register here.

AWSPs members receive $60 off regular registration 


Recently added to the line up, a Bonus Center Webcast!

Center Webcast: Just How Gross Can You Get? Dealing with Gross Solids and Illicit Discharges in your Community.

October 5, 2011, 12-2 Eastern

Cost: $149


Illicit discharges and gross stormwater solids (i.e., trash and large organic debris) play a major role in contributing to water quality impairments. These sources have not been sufficiently recognized as a substantial contributor of bacteria, nutrients and other pollutants, and recent research has shown that the problems emanating from these sources may be larger than we have imagined. However, controlling these substances through programs such as illicit discharge detection and elimination (IDDE) may be one of the easier, less expensive options for meeting contaminant load reductions. This webcast will look at the best practices to control

illicit discharges and gross stormwater solids, the programmatic and policy implications, and provide some case studies to illustrate the quantifiable

pollutant load reduction benefits for water quality of these cost-effective

stormwater BMPs.


More information on our Website


Third Maryland Streams Symposium and Mid-Atlantic Volunteer Monitoring Conference 

August 10 - 13, 2011. Westminister, MD


Come on out to bucolic Carroll County, Maryland for four days will be chock full of informative presentations, hands-on field trips and interactive workshops. Our diverse themed sessions include Stream Geomorphology, Volunteers in the Chesapeake Bay, Marcellus Shale, Making Your Voice Heard, Foreign Invaders, Sustainability and Healthy Watersheds, Stream Biodiversity, and Volunteer Monitoring Success Stories.The event is open to everyone; professionals, volunteers, concerned citizens, educators, and students are all encouraged to attend. Early bird registration ends July 29.




2nd Annual Northwest Climate Science Conference

September 13-14, 2011. Seattle, WA


The conference, sponsored by PNW research institutions and federal and state government agencies (see list below), aims to stimulate a place-based (rather than discipline-based) exchange of information about emerging climate, climate impacts, and climate adaptation science in the PNW. The conference will also include time for presentation of emerging policy and management goals, objectives, and information needs related to climate impacts and adaptation. This year's conference will consist of a combination of plenary sessions (focusing on cross-cutting topics of relevance to multiple disciplines and/or with clear practical applications) and poster sessions.




Philadelphia Low Impact Development Symposium:  Greening the Urban Environment

September 25-28, 2011.Philadelphia, PA

This symposium serves to combine three annual events into a single venue:  5th National Low Impact Development Conference, 19th Annual National Non-Point Source Monitoring Workshop, and the 2011 Pennsylvania Stormwater Management Symposium.  Registration will open on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 25, followed by pre-conference workshops. The three-day technical program, Monday - Wednesday, will include six concurrent tracks.  Greg Hoffmann, Watershed Engineer with the Center, will co-present a paper on recent stormwater retrofitting endeavors in Arlington County, VA.




Fourth Interagency Conference on Research in the Watersheds 

September 26-30, 2011. Fairbanks, AK 


Watersheds face resource impacts driven by accelerated change related to land use, population, and climate. About every three years a conference is held to bring together watershed researchers, observers, and managers to share scientific advances and management strategies. For the Fourth Interagency Conference on Research in the Watersheds, we will take a national perspective on watershed science, and will also examine some pressing issues of watershed science and management in our largest and perhaps most vulnerable state, Alaska. The purpose of the conference is to better understand the processes driving change and help managers incorporate societal needs and scientific uncertainty in the management of natural resources. Please join us in Fairbanks September 26-30, 2011, for this next big step in sharing information about work in watersheds. 


AWSPs members save $50 off registration!



International Forum: Stormwater Management in Urban - Call for Speakers  

October 23-25,2011. Quebec, Canada 


This conference will be held from October 23-25, 2011 at the Cultural Center of the University of Sherbrooke (Québec, Canada). Speakers and participants from all the stormwater management sectors will be invited to present practical tools, to share experiences to create new partnerships.


Professionals from municipalities, universities, watershed organizations, engineering firms, environmental organizations, developers and investors are invited to respond to the call for speakers and posters to present a paper concerning one of the major themes:

  • Governance, strategy development and territorial planning
  • Assessment of innovative stormwater sewage and harvesting techniques
  • Modeling tools
  • Stormwater management in watershed scale

AWSPs members receive a special savings of 70% off conference registration fees.



cool links graphic

Cool Links

"Cool Links" provides information on some new or new-found resources that are helpful to watershed managers and stormwater professionals.



New Video on Finding and Fixing Illicit Discharges 

Subscribe to the Center's YouTube Channel for more videos like the one below!


Across our urban and suburban watersheds, hidden culprits are polluting our waterways.  Watch this video to find out more about Illicit Discharge Detection & Elimination (IDDE) -- the process of finding and fixing these hidden stream polluters.  

Finding & Fixing Hidden Sources of Water Pollution: Illicit Discharge Detection & Elimination
Finding & Fixing Hidden Sources of Water Pollution: Illicit Discharge Detection & Elimination

Beyond the Guidebook 2010: Implementing a New Culture for Urban Watershed Protection and Restoration in British Columbia

Released in June 2010,this document describes how a 'convening for action' philosophy has taken root in British Columbia. Bringing together local government practitioners in neutral forums has enabled implementers to collaborate as regional teams. Their action-oriented focus has resulted in 'how to do it' examples that help decision-makers visualize what 'design with nature' policy goals look like on the ground.  To leanr more, see the Water Balance Model for British Columbia at, Water Bucket Website at and the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia at 


H2O Capture.  Measuring Milwaukee's Future, 1 Drop at a Time

To celebrate Earth Day, the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewer District has launched this informative and beautifully-designed site:


Techniques for Determining Effective (Connected) Impervious Area

Developed by Ben Janke and John S. Gulliver, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Minnesota

Practitioners responsible for the design and implementation of stormwater management practices rely heavily on estimates of impervious area in a watershed. The most important parameter in determining actual urban runoff is the 'effective' impervious area (EIA), or the portion of total impervious area that is directly connected to the storm sewer system. EIA is often considerably less than total impervious area, and can vary with rainfall depth and intensity. Despite its importance, EIA is often not well known in practice. A more accurate estimate of EIA would aid the design of stormwater management practices by improving the accuracy of hydrologic simulations and providing a means to assess the impact of disconnection on discharge from a watershed. These outcomes should result in more effective and properly designed stormwater management practices. Read more:


New Stormwater Management Tools for Homeowners

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services has recently created two new stormwater management tools for homeowners.

  1. The New Hampshire Homeowner's Guide to Stormwater Management:  Do-It-Yourself Stormwater Solutions for Your Home was developed to help homeowners better manage stormwater on their properties. It can also be used by communities as an outreach tool to encourage better stormwater management on private properties. It provides fact sheets with step-by-step instructions for homeowners to install stormwater treatment practices themselves, such as dry wells and rain gardens.
  2. The New Hampshire Residential Loading Model, is a modeling tool for homeowners to estimate the amount stormwater pollutants, specifically phosphorus, nitrogen, and sediment running off of their properties.

Both resources are available on the NH DES website at

Runoff Rundown Team:

Karen Cappiella, Hye Yeong Kwon, Lori Lilly, and Snehal Pulivarti 


If you have suggestions for future Runoff Rundown content, or would like to contribute an article, contact us at 


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