An Evaluation of the Toxicity of Accumulated Sediments in Forebays of Stormwater Wetlands and Wetponds
Forebays, small settling basins placed at the inlet of Stormwater Best Management Practices, encourage sedimentation with the intention of pollutant consolidation and capture. Regularly, accumulated sediments are excavated to restore forebay storage volume and to further prevent contamination of downstream waterbodies during large storm events. Disposal measures vary according to the toxicity of sediments. To test for the potential toxicity of forebay spoils, 30 stormwater wetland and wetpond forebays of varying age, size, and upstream landuse were sampled across North Carolina and analyzed for seven metals: cadmium, chromium, copper, iron, lead, nickel, and zinc. Ten of 30 sites were also sampled near the outlet structures for spatial comparison of settled sediment and pollutant presence. The relative toxicity of all sampled sediment metal concentrations was evaluated using existing aquatic health sediment guidelines and US Environmental Protection Agency standards for the land application of biosolids (40 CFR503). Of 30 sites, 17 exceeded sediment guidelines for aquatic health, emphasizing the need for routine forebay sediment removal. However, all samples were less than 40 CFR 503 limits with factors of safety ranging from 2.3 to 28, indicating that land application of forebay sediment is unlikely to pose an environmental threat. Additionally, forebay sediment tended to have lower metal toxicity than sediment collected at the pond or wetland outlet.
KeywordsSediment Forebays Stormwater wetlands Stormwater wetponds Water quality Land application
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