Characterization of Rainfall Runoff Quality from a Shipyard Drydock

Date of Award

Fall 1996

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Civil & Environmental Engineering


Environmental Engineering

Committee Director

Gary C. Schafran

Committee Member

A. Osman Akan

Committee Member

Jaewan Yoon

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.E553 P67


Water quality and hydrological data were collected during seventeen rain events and additional data was obtained from laboratory experiments to characterize the quality of stormwater runoff from a drydock located on the Elizabeth River in Norfolk, Virginia.

The results indicated that the concentrations of dissolved constituents in drydock runoff increased with decreasing flow rate, while solids concentrations exhibited positive correlation to flow rate, suggesting that the mobilization of particulate matter is velocity driven. Approximating the runoff hydrograph due to a storm event using a simple model enabled derivation of the average time that rainwater resides on the drydock surface before discharge to the river. From the comparison of water quality parameters of river and runoff it was concluded that runoff was immediately diluted by a factor of 10 upon discharge. Predictive equations developed for dissolved and particulate copper, zinc, and lead, indicated that particulate trace metals were mobilized in proportion to overall particulate matter and dissolved zinc and copper concentrations were enhanced by complexation with dissolved organic carbon. Kinetic studies revealed that zinc desorbs rapidly from particulate matter on the drydock. The solubilization of copper appeared to be slightly slower and may have been controlled by dissolved organic carbon. Calcium enhanced removal of zinc from solution, while copper appeared to be unaffected. Results of settling experiments showed that copper, zinc, and lead bound to particulate material in drydock runoff remained suspended in the water column for a long time period and thus may not be easily removed by sedimentation.


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