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Evaluation of Point and Broad Sources of Chemical and Biological Impairment of the Nine Mile Run Watershed

Willis, Jason Brooks (2011) Evaluation of Point and Broad Sources of Chemical and Biological Impairment of the Nine Mile Run Watershed. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This thesis evaluates the water quality within the Nine Mile Run Watershed of Allegheny County, PA. Due to its large land area and proximity to several city neighborhoods, the water originating in Frick Park is significantly impacted by people, dogs, and vehicles. These inputs can lead to water quality degradation of its receiving body Nine Mile Run (NMR), as well as its tributaries Falls Ravine Creek (FR) and Fern Hollow Creek (FH). NMR eventually flows into the Monongahela River across from Homestead. While the overall contribution to flow volume on the Monongahela River is small, studying the water quality of the Nine Mile Run Watershed can serve as an example for other tributaries and local rivers in similar settings. Study results could provide data and evidence for future grants, further infrastructure improvement, and improvement to the health and drinking water quality of Pittsburgh and waters downstream on the Ohio River. To accomplish a characterization of water quality and identification of sources of impairment, bimonthly samples were taken from September 2010 through May 2011 at 11 locations along Nine Mile Run and its tributaries. Sampling sites were strategically located to analyze contamination from three main sources including, a combined sewer overflow (CSO) outfall, Hot Dog Dam, and traffic from Forbes Avenue and I-376. During each sampling period, field and lab measurements were conducted for each sample site. In comparison to its Frick Park tributaries, NMR displayed higher pH, TDS, and bacterial counts throughout the study. Sodium and chloride concentrations were also higher in NMR during colder months due to deicing agent application on adjacent roadways. The CSO had an effect on the upstream and downstream sites of NMR by yielding lower DO and pH values throughout the study. NMR sites and the CSO also produced the highest Enterococci counts during the study, while Site 12 had the single highest E. Coli count. Data suggests that the water quality in the Nine Mile Run Watershed was adversely affected throughout the study by deicing agents, pet and human waste, and input from combined and sanitary sewers.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Willis, Jason Brooksjbw23@pitt.eduJBW23
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMonnell, Jason D.jdm49@pitt.eduJDM49
Committee MemberBain, Danieldbain@pitt.eduDBAIN
Committee MemberNeufeld, Ronald D.neufeld@pitt.eduNEUFELD
Committee MemberHarper, Willie F.wharper@pitt.eduWHARPER
Date: 19 September 2011
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 28 June 2011
Approval Date: 19 September 2011
Submission Date: 19 July 2011
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Swanson School of Engineering > Civil and Environmental Engineering
Degree: MSCE - Master of Science in Civil Engineering
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: and anions; calcium; cations; chloride; Deicing agents; dissolved oxygen; E. Coli; enterococci; magnesium; nitrate; potassium; sodium; sulfate; total dissolved solids; total solids; turbidity
Other ID:, etd-07192011-194033
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:52
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:46


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