Water quality, catchment imperviousness and Water Sensitive Urban Design in a small urban stream in Helsinki, Finland

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http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi-fe20180115152
Title: Water quality, catchment imperviousness and Water Sensitive Urban Design in a small urban stream in Helsinki, Finland
Author: Stuart, Elliot
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Department of Environmental Sciences
Publisher: Helsingfors universitet
Date: 2013
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi-fe20180115152
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/38869
Thesis level: master's thesis
Abstract: The primary characteristic of urbanisation is the addition of hard surfaces to catchments, which affects water and habitat quality in urban streams and alters natural hydrological processes by reducing infiltration, evapotranpiration and efficiently conveying storm runoff to streams, gathering a variety of urban polluants along the way. This is typical of the 'urban stream syndrome'. Catchment imperviousness (especially Effective Impervious Area or percent connectivity) can be used as one of the primary indicators of the severity of this phenomenon. This research was initiated through a collaboration between the City of Helsinki and the University of Helsinki to determine the baseline water quality of Hakuninmaanoja, a small urban stream in Helsinki, Finland, and the imperviousness of its catchment, where a pilot ecological housing development 'Kuninkaantammi' (KUNTA) will be built beginning in 2013. The purpose of the project is to assess the current characteristics of the catchment prior to the development in the headwaters of the stream. An automatic water quality monitoring station was built on the lower part of the stream approximately 200m upstream of its junction with Mätäjoki, the second largest river of Helsinki. Water Sensitive Urban Design can be used as part of a holistic stormwater treatment train to limit newly created imperviousness, and minimise the connectivity of the necessary remainder, allowing stormwater runoff to be reused, infiltrated and treated through soil media, or slowed down enough to attenuate the urban hydrograph. Some of these features such as raingardens, green roofs and detention ponds will be included in the KUNTA development for this purpose. A detailed calculation of catchment imperviousness was completed via field survey and land use categorization methods. Total Impervious Area (TIA) was determined to be 22%, Effective Impervious Area 15% and catchment wide runoff coefficient given by land use categorisation method to be 0.32. TIA is expected to increase to 30% following development of KUNTA, however EIA is not expected to increase in proportion with TIA due to planned Water Sensitive Urban Design features. Yearly runoff volumes based on each method of calculating imperviousness were estimated, as well as for the future following KUNTA development. Water quality in the stream currently is quite satisfactory in relation to other streams in Helsinki, however the urban stream syndrome is already evident with particular concern regarding temperature, sediment and peak flow fluctuations. Effective Impervious Area should be used in urban planning of new and existing developments rather than TIA because it will give much greater accuracy of runoff volumes and infiltration rates by taking into account unconnected impervious surfaces. Strengthening local solutions to reduce connectivity should be a municipal priority. Water quality monitoring will continue at the site until after KUNTA has been built, and further research should focus on determining the technical performance of stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) at the site.
Subject: urban stream
effective impervious area
total imperviousness
water quality
water quantity
water sensitive urban design
stormwater management
runoff
urban planning
kuninkaantammi
Discipline: Environmental Ecology
Ympäristöekologia
Miljöekologi


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