Precipitation-Driven Anthropogenic Pollutant Fluctuations Within Standing Water Sources of the Edwards Aquifer Region, Texas
The objective of this study was to assess the contribution of urban runoff in pollutant delivery to standing water pools within the Edwards Aquifer region of Texas. Grab samples of water were collected weekly over 5 months at one urban pool, one undeveloped pool, and one control pond that received minimal runoff. Samples were tested for nitrates, total dissolved phosphorus, Escherichia coli, and other coliform bacteria. The urban site had higher nitrate, E. coli, and other coliform bacteria concentrations than the undeveloped site. Significant positive linear relationships between weekly antecedent rainfall and both nitrate and E. coli were found at the urban site but not the undeveloped site. Water quality parameters at the control site remained stable, suggesting increases in nitrate and E. coli at the urban site were caused by runoff. Using publicly available data, relationships between water quality and weekly antecedent discharge were tested at 24 additional sites varying in land use. Positive relationships for E. coli were found at several urban sites, supporting runoff as a contributor to bacterial loading. Relationships for nitrate were variable, but all additional sites had flowing water, suggesting a unique response of water quality to urban runoff at the sampled urban pool.