• Effect of a Grass and Soil Filter on Tucson Urban Runoff: A Preliminary Evaluation

      Popkin, Barney Paul; Water Resources Research Center, University of Arizona (Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science, 1972-05-06)
      Storm runoff from the Tucson metropolitan area is unsuitable for most uses without processing. A lysimeter comprised of a grass and soil filter was constructed and is being evaluated as a water-quality treatment facility. The lysimeter is 200 feet long, 4 feet wide and 5 feet deep, and contains homogeneous calcareous loam covered by common grasses. Experimental apparatus was installed to divert less than a cubic foot per second of runoff from urbanized Arcadia Watershed. Runoff flows by gravity over the lysimeter, where surface inflow, surface outflow and subsurface outflow are measured and sampled. Four trials, each associated with a discrete runoff event, were conducted in the fall of 1971. Water samples were analyzed for inorganic chemical constituents, chemical oxygen demand (COD), coliforms, turbidity and sediment contents. Subsurface-outflow samples from initial trials were high in COD and total dissolved solids, representing soil flushing or leaching. Concentrations of inorganics reached a maximum value within a few hours of initial seepage, and then decreased. The peaking represents a salt build-up between trials. Concentrations of COD, coliforms, turbidity and sediment in subsurface-outflow samples decreased significantly during each trial. Surface-outflow samples had lower turbidity, COD, bacteria and sediment contents than surface-inflow samples. Turbidity, suspended and volatile solids, coliforms and COD in runoff samples may be reduced by grass and soil filtration. Increased grass development and soil settling work to produce a better quality effluent. Quantification of the lysimeter's effectiveness will be useful for urban watershed management.