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STC synthesis of research results for water quality management at construction sites : final report.
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  • Abstract:
    The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists sediment as the most common pollutant in U.S. streams, rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. This is of significant importance to state Departments of Transportation (DOT) due to the large amount of construction necessary to maintain and improve interstate and intrastate public roadways. As part of construction, soils are frequently exposed due to the removal of vegetative cover. Unimpeded, sediment is transported to waters of the state, where deposition may cause a problem for aquatic organisms in the receiving waterways. Sediment is known to disrupt fish populations and aquatic plants and promote the growth of nuisance algae. Sediment may also be a carrier for chemical contamination. In March 2012, Thompson Engineering contracted with the Louisiana Transportation Research Center (LTRC) to perform a synthesis of research results on water quality management at construction sites within the Southeastern Transportation Consortium member states. This report presents the results of the research. While states in the southeastern U.S. have performed research on the subject of erosion and sediment management, there is still a need to take a closer look at management practices that will improve water quality at department of transportation construction sites. This report is an overview of recent research that has been performed or funded by state level DOTs in the southeastern United States. The primary source of information for this report comes from literature obtained from individual DOT databases or the Transportation Research Board database. Additionally, a questionnaire was sent to 12 states located in the southeastern United States: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. The following nine states responded to the questionnaire Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. Research that is ongoing is not included. Responses from the questionnaire indicate that the DOTs are making an effort in managing erosion and sediment at construction sites. All responding states indicate that they have stormwater training or monitoring programs in place. Additionally, literature regarding erosion and sedimentation was found from most states. A wide variety of research has been performed throughout the southeastern United States. Topics ranging from vegetative cover to individual best management practice (BMP) design and performance assessments have been studied with varied results. In the case that water quality degradation is eminent, the mitigation process has also been studied. The most recent research available was collected from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. Although DOTs are making efforts through research and management programs, there is still a need to continue improving construction impacts on bodies of water. More research regarding specific BMPs, site planning, training programs and systematic approaches would greatly benefit the DOTs in the effort to control or eliminate sediment loss at construction sites.
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