Stormwater, Irrigation, BMP, Nitrate, Evapotranspiration, ET, eutrophication, nitrogen cycle, nitrogen, Saint Augustine Grass, St. Augustine turfgrass


A change in surface condition of a watershed, which is usually caused by development, can have measured effects on the naturally occurring hydrologic cycle and nitrogen cycle. This could result in environmental problems, such as reduced springflow and eutrophication. In an effort to address these issues, a combination of best management practices (BMPs) can be adhered to. The practice of using excess stormwater as a source for irrigation is proposed as a BMP for the minimization of impacts by development to the hydrologic and nitrogen cycles. To study the proposed BMP, a field experiment was installed in an outdoor location on the UCF main campus in Orlando, Florida. The experiment consists of three soil chambers, (2x2x4 ft, L:W:H), filled with compacted soil and covered with St. Augustine grass to simulate a suburban lawn. The grass was irrigated up to twice a week with detained stormwater with a nitrate nitrogen concentration of up to 2 mg/L. A mass balance and a total nitrogen balance were performed to determine evapotranspiration (ET) and impacts on groundwater nitrogen content. It was determined that the groundwater characteristics are largely dependent on the characteristics of the soil. The input nitrogen (precipitation and irrigation) was mostly in the form of nitrate and the output nitrogen (groundwater) was mostly in the form of ammonia. A total nitrogen mass balance indicated the mass output of nitrogen was significantly larger than mass input of nitrogen, which was due to ammonia leaching from the soil. Only small concentrations of nitrate were detected in the groundwater, resulting in an estimated nitrate removal (conversion to ammonia) of 97 percent at a depth of four feet when the input nitrate concentration was 2 mg/L. The average ET of the three chambers was compared to the estimated ET from the modified Blaney-Criddle equation on a monthly basis and a yearly basis. The modified Blaney-Criddle equation was proven to be accurate for estimating the actual ET for this application: irrigated St. Augustine grass in the Central Florida climate. In conclusion, using the available literature and the data collected from the field experiment, it was shown through an example design problem that the proposed BMP of using excess stormwater as a source for irrigation can help achieve a pre- versus postdevelopment volume balance and can help control post-development nitrate emissions.


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Graduation Date





Wanielista, Martin


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


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Degree Program

Environmental Engineering








Release Date

December 2005

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)