, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 227-236

Impact of stormwater infiltration basins on groundwater quality, Perth metropolitan region, Western Australia

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Abstract

Twelve bores were sunk adjacent to three stormwater infiltration basins in the Perth metropolitan area to examine the impact of runoff from a light industrial area, a medium-density residential area, and a major arterial road on groundwater quality, and to examine the hydrological response of the aquifer to runoff recharge. Automatic and manual water level monitoring between April and November 1990 indicated that groundwater levels responded within minutes to recharge from the infiltration basins. Peak water levels of up to 2.5 m above rest levels occurred 6–24 h after the commencement of ponding in the infiltration basins. There was a marked reduction in salinity and increase in dissolved oxygen concentrations in the upper part of the aquifer downgradient of the infiltration basins. Concentrations of toxic metals, nutrients, pesticides, and phenolic compounds in groundwater near the infiltration basins were low and generally well within Australian drinking water guidelines. However, sediment in the base of an infiltration basin draining a major road contained in excess of 3500 ppm of lead. Phthalates, which are US EPA priority pollutants, were detected in all but one bore near the infiltration basins. Their detection may be a sampling artifact, but they may also be derived from the plastic litter that accumulates in the infiltration basins. The concentration of iron in groundwater near the infiltration basins appears to be controlled by dissolved oxygen concentrations, with high iron concentrations occurring where dissolved oxygen concentrations are low. Pumping bores located near infiltration basins may suffer from iron encrustation problems caused by the mixing of shallow, oxygenated groundwater with water containing higher concentrations of iron from deeper in the aquifer.