Environmental sensing; monitoring; best management practices; stormwater management; low velocity; groundwater velocity; wetland; stormwater retention pond


The aim of this thesis is to examine and develop new techniques in stormwater Best Management Practices (BMP) for nutrient and erosion reduction and monitoring by incorporation of low impact green technologies and sensor networks. Previous research has found excessive nutrient loading of nitrogen and phosphorus species from urban stormwater runoff can lead to ecological degradation and eutrophication of receiving lakes and rivers (Fareed and Abid, 2005). In response, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) has set forth reduction goals as established in Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) reports to reduce nutrient loading and restore, or maintain, Florida water bodies to reasonable conditions. Often times current stormwater management practices are not sufficient to attain these goals and further improvements in system design are required. In order to reach these goals, affordable technologies designed for both nutrient reduction and monitoring of system performance to deepen and improve our understanding of stormwater processes are required. Firstly this thesis examines the performance of three types of continuous-cycle Media Bed Reactors (MBRs) using Bio-activated Adsorptive Media (BAM) for nutrient reduction in three retention ponds located throughout the Central Florida region. Chapter 2 examines the use of a Sloped and Horizontal MBRs arranged in a baffling configuration, whereas Chapter 3 examines the field performance of a Floating MBR arranged in an upflow configuration. Each MBR was analyzed for performance in reducing total phosphorus, soluble reactive phosphorus, total nitrogen, organic nitrogen, ammonia, nitrates + nitrites, turbidity and chlorophyll a species as measured from the influent to effluent ends of the MBR. The results of the experiments indicate that MBRs may be combined with retention ponds to provide "green technology" alternatives for inter-event treatment of nutrient species in urban stormwater runoff by use of recyclable sorption media and solar powered submersible pumps. Secondly the thesis focusses on three new devices for BMP monitoring which may be integrated into wireless networks, including a Groundwater Variable Probe (GVP) for velocity, hydraulic conductivity and dispersion measurements in a retention pond bank (Chapter 4), an affordable Wireless Automated Sampling Network (WASN) for sampling and analysis of nutrient flux gradients in retention ponds (Chapter 5), and finally an Arc-Type Automated Pulse Tracer Velocimeter (APTV) for low velocity and direction surface water measurements in retention ponds and constructed wetlands (Chapter 6). The GVP was integrated with other environmental sensing probes to create a remote sensing station, capable of real-time data analysis of sub-surface conditions including soil moisture, water table stage. Such abilities, when synced with user control capabilities, may help to increase methods of monitoring for applications including erosion control, bank stability predictions, monitoring of groundwater pollutant plume migration, and establishing hydraulic residence times through subsurface BMPs such as permeable reactive barriers. Advancement of this technology may be used by establishing additional sub-stations, thereby creating sensing networks covering broader areas on the kilometer scale. Two methods for velocity calculation were developed for the GVP for low flow (Pe < 0.2) and high flow (Pe > 0.6) conditions. The GVP was found to operate from a 26-505 cmd-1 range in the laboratory to within ±26% of expected velocities for high-flow conditions and effectively measure directional flow angles to within ±14° of expected. Hydraulic conductivity measurements made by the GVP were confirmed to within ±12% as compared to laboratory measurements. The GVP was found capable of measuring the dispersion coefficient in the laboratory, however turbulent interferences caused during injection was found to occur. Further advancement of the technology may be merited to improve dispersion coefficient measurements. Automated water sampling can provide valuable information of the spatial and temporal distribution of pollutant loading in surface water environments. This ability is expanded with the development of the WASN, providing an affordable, ease-of-use method compared to conventional automated water samplers currently on the market. The WASN was found to effectively operate by text activation via GSM cellular networks to an activation module. Propagation of the signal was distributed to collection units via XBee modules operating on point-to-point star communication using an IEEE 802.15.4 protocol. Signal communications effectively transmitted in the field during a storm event to within a range of 200 feet and collected 50 ±4 ml samples at synced timed increments. A tracer study confirmed that no mixing of samples occurs when a factor of safety of 2 is applied to flush times. This technology provides similar abilities to current market devices at down to 10% of the cost, thereby allowing much more sampling locations for a similar budget. The Arc-Type APTV is useful in establishing both low range horizontal velocity fields and expanding low range velocity measurements below detection ranges of mechanical velocity meters. Installation of a field station showed system functionality, which may be integrated with other environmental sensing probes for surface water testing. This may assist in nutrient distribution analysis and understanding the complex behavior of hydraulic retention times within wetland systems. The device was found to work effectively in both lab and field environments from a 0.02 – 5.0 cms-1 range and measure velocity within approximately ±10% of an acoustic Doppler velocimeter and within an average of ±10° of directional measurements. A drop in accuracy was measured for velocity ranges >4.5 cms-1. The field station operated on 3G CDMA cellular network two-way communication by installation of a Raven cellular modem. Use of LoggerNet software allowed control and data acquisition from anywhere with an internet connection. This thesis also introduces brief discussions on expanding these "point" measurement technologies into sensing networks. Installation of sub-stations with communication protocols to one central master node station may broaden the sensing system into much larger kilometer-scale ranges, thus allowing large spatial analysis of environmental conditions. Such an integration into controllable sensing networks may help bridge the gap and add calibration and verification abilities between fine-resolution "point" measurements and large scale technologies such as Electrical Resistivity Tomography and satellite remote sensing. Furthermore, application of sensing networks may assist in calibration and verification of surface and groundwater models such as ModFlow, SVFlux and FEHM.


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Graduation Date





Chang, Ni-bin


Master of Science in Environmental Engineering (M.S.Env.E.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering

Degree Program

Environmental Engineering








Release Date

June 2016

Length of Campus-only Access

1 year

Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Engineering and Computer Science; Engineering and Computer Science -- Dissertations, Academic