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Pathogens in Urban Stormwater Runoff

Stormwater runoff has been found to be a frequent source of pollution to waterways, as it mobilizes contaminants from impervious urban landscapes to aquatic environments. Led by Ali Boehm and PhD student Katy Graham, the research team is collecting dry weather and wet weather water samples from urban creeks in the area and processing them to quantify fecal indicator bacteria  and human enteric viruses. There is very little work quantifying human viruses in stormwater in highly urbanized areas which limits our understanding of the risks associated with its use for irrigation and infiltration to augment groundwater. Research is also ongoing to design better performing biofilters (rain gardens), through the use of a Biochar (a type of charcoal), which remove pathogens from stormwater. Biochar is low cost, widely available, and has been shown to aid in plant growth, and as a means for carbon sequestration.

WHD Project Leads