The goal of the Stormwater Quality Monitoring Program is to collect data to understand the health and resiliency of the stormwater management facilities (SWMFs) within the urban area of Sherwood Park. The program will fill data gaps and provide a baseline of water quality trends within the urban area. The monitoring program will provide rationale for management decisions, construction standards and provincial guidelines.
The sample locations cover the four drainage basins within Sherwood Park and are sampled in the spring and the fall. This allows data to be interpreted at both the local scale as well as at the drainage basin scale allowing for comparisons between upstream and downstream impacts. All of the stormwater eventually makes its way to the North Saskatchewan River.
During the sampling, vegetation and wildlife observations are noted.
The parameters that are tested in the field are turbidity, dissolved oxygen, pH, electrical conductivity and temperature. The parameters that are tested in the laboratory analysis are total suspended solids, biological oxygen demand, total phosphorus, total dissolved phosophorus, total kjeldahl nitrogen, nitrates, ammonia nitrogen, chloride, Escherichia coli, total metals and chlorophyll-A.
As the program continues, more value will be gained in comparing results from season to season and year to year. So far, some of the trends that have emerged are:
- Spring electrical conductivity values tent to be higher than the fall values. As salt impacts electrical conductivity, it is assumed that the influx of spring runoff, including salt from the roads, would cause both chloride and electrical conductivity to be elevated in the spring.
- Total suspended solids tend to be higher in the fall than in the spring. This may be associated with the increased runoff activities during the summer due to the high amount of rainfall experienced.
Remember, all of the stormwater eventually ends up in the North Saskatchewan River, so individual actions like limiting fertilizer use, picking up animal waste, allowing vegetation to naturalize and joining County initiatives like the Blue Broom Crew are important and have an impact on our water quality!