Mitigating Pollutants from Highway Infrastructure for Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Compliance: Monitoring Efficacy of Best Management Practices and Advancing Decision Support

The protection of waters within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed is of critical regional importance and strategic significance to state highway programs. State agencies must assist in the effort to meet multi-jurisdictional stormwater regulations within the watershed. Stormwater runoff from to roads, highways and other infrastructure, such as bridges, carry debris, oil, heavy metals, suspended solids and other compounds often directly into waterways. The resulting runoff may have detrimental pollutants that often goes untreated into waters and can damage ecologically sensitive habitat. Adjacent vegetation, buffer areas, and best management practices have become very important to controlling pollution. As stormwater regulations and total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) are implemented, guidance for effective stormwater controls with highway infrastructure has become essential. The main purpose of this research is to provide guidance to state highway agencies to prioritize activities and resources for TMDL compliance. In order to meet this overall goal, the project proposes the following objectives for this research, to: (1) analyze existing literature and resources to identify guidance for stormwater management and TMDL compliance. Engage and survey appropriate stakeholders to gain further insight; (2) identify stormwater impacts of highways based on vehicle usage, roadside management, and designated TMDLs for tributaries within the University Transportation Center (UTC) Region 3 states; (3) field monitor critical water bodies for contribution to pollutant loading from nearby highway infrastructure with and without best management practices (BMPs) in place; (4) develop TMDL protocol and identify BMTs. Determine the load reduction strategies for point and nonpoint source pollutants to meet TMDL regulation by analytically identifying through use of flow and load duration curves and other means; and (5) develop decision support system and tools for watershed delineation and modeling, as well as, BMP screening, evaluation, and maintenance via online geographic information system (GIS) interface. This effort will make information and guidance regarding highway appropriate BMPs available to those directly managing highways. By getting this information to these professionals and officials, best practices will become more widely understood, accepted, and implemented, helping our partner departments of transportation (DOTs) and related stakeholders meet their water quality goals. Dissemination of results would impact those individuals who are likely to influence policy and management decisions. The project envisions the involvement of state DOTs and other watershed stakeholders in the study design and dissemination of resources to ensure practical use and effective implementation. Multiple benefits to for State DOTs will be met through the work achieved in this collaborative research. An overall benefit is that stakeholders would be provided analysis on stormwater management practices and information needed for selecting and implementing effective practices to achieve TMDL compliance. Monitoring and decision support tools will help to standardize the process to determining priorities, specifications, and delegating prescriptive actions to ameliorate impacts highways have on the water quality of the nearby tributaries. Other expected benefits are: (1) Highway specific and watershed scale approach for targeting strategies for pollution control measures and identifying critical source areas. Critical sources are the pollutants that intensively contribute to non-point source pollution loading. (2) The information afforded by the effort should encourage a greater appreciation and knowledge of the benefits of green highway infrastructure. The research will provide opportunities to view case studies, understand models to measure the benefits, and understand tradeoffs yielded by integrating green infrastructure components and management practices. (3) Development of web resources and decision support tools to inform the transportation agencies and engineering professionals of stormwater management for highway infrastructure.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg

    Blacksburg, VA  United States  24061

    National Center for Transportation Management, Research and Development

    Morgan State University
    1700 East Cold Spring Lane, Montebello D-206
    Baltimore, MD  United States  21251

    Virginia Center for Transportation Innovation and Research

    530 Edgemont Road
    Charlottesville, VA  United States  22903

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    University Transportation Centers Program
    1200 New Jersey Avenue
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Performing Organizations:

    Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg

    Blacksburg, VA  United States  24061

    University of Virginia, Charlottesville

    Charlottesville, VA  United States 

    Morgan State University

    School of Engineering
    Cold Spring Lane and Hillen Road
    Baltimore, MD  United States  21239
  • Principal Investigators:

    Alden, Andrew

    Culver, Teresa

    Kang, Dong Hee

    Hunter, James

  • Start Date: 20141001
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20160531
  • Source Data: RiP Project 37265

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01539926
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Mid-Atlantic Transportation Sustainability Center
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT13-G-UTC33
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Oct 8 2014 1:00AM