Project Title

Mitigating Pollutants from Highway Infrastructure for Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Compliance: Monitoring Efficacy of Best Management Practices and Advancing Decision Support

Collaborating Universities

Morgan State University
1700 East Cold Spring Lane
Baltimore MD 21251

University of Virginia
351 McCormick Dr.
P.O. Box 400742
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4742

Principal Investigator(s)

James Hunter (MSU) - Email:
Dong Hee Kang (MSU) - Email:
Teresa Culver (UVA) - Email:

Funding Source(s) and Amounts Provided (by each agency or organization)

USDOT: $56,000 (Federal)
MSU: $30,000 (Match)
VDOT: $70,000 (Match)

Total Project Costs

$56,000 Federal/$100,000 Match

Agency ID or Contract Number


Start Date


Completion Date



The protection of waters within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed is of critical regional importance and strategic significance to state highway programs. State agencies must assist in the effort to meet multi-jurisdictional stormwater regulations within the watershed.  Stormwater runoff from to roads, highways and other infrastructure, such as bridges, carry debris, oil, heavy metals, suspended solids and other compounds often directly into waterways.  The resulting runoff may have detrimental pollutants that often goes untreated into waters and can damage ecologically sensitive habitat.  Adjacent vegetation, buffer areas, and best management practices have become very important to controlling pollution.  As stormwater regulations and TMDLs are implemented, guidance for effective stormwater controls with highway infrastructure has become essential.

The main purpose of this research is to provide guidance to state highway agencies to prioritize activities and resources for TMDL compliance. In order to meet this overall goal, we propose the following objectives for this research:

  1. Analyze existing literature and resources to identify guidance for stormwater management and TMDL compliance. Engage and survey appropriate stakeholders to gain further insight.
  2. Identify stormwater impacts of highways based on vehicle usage, roadside management, and designated TMDLs for tributaries within the UTC Region 3 states.
  3. Field monitor critical water bodies for contribution to pollutant loading from nearby highway infrastructure with and without BMPs in place.
  4. Develop TMDL protocol and identify Best Management Practices. Determine the load reduction strategies for point and nonpoint source pollutants to meet TMDL regulation by analytically identifying through use of flow and load duration curves and other means.
  5. Develop decision support system and tools for watershed delineation & modeling, as well as, BMP screening, evaluation, and maintenance via online GIS interface.

The identified Region 3 UTC Researchers will work collaboratively on the proposed objectives.  We envision contributions of all researchers would include literature review and database summary for various highway event mean concentrations, stormwater BMPs, modeling approaches, technical reports, and guidance documentation from state agencies, AASHTO, EPA, and FHA.

Leads for this integrated effort are as follows:

BMP Evaluation / Field Monitoring; TMDL Assessments – Drs. Hunter and Kang (MSU)

Watershed Management Strategies; TMDL Assessments – Dr. Teresa Culver (UVA)

Decision Support System/Tools ; GIS Data Acquisition and Visualization – Andy Alden (VT)


Potential implementation of project outcomes

This effort will make information and guidance regarding highway appropriate BMPs available to those directly managing highways.  By getting this information to these professionals and officials, best practices will become more widely understood, accepted, and implemented, helping our partner DOTs and related stakeholders meet their water quality goals.  Dissemination of results would impact those individuals who are likely to influence policy and management decisions. We envision the involvement of state DOTs and other watershed stakeholders in the study design and dissemination of resources to ensure practical use and effective implementation.



Expected benefits and impacts

Multiple benefits to for State DOTs will be met through the work achieved in this collaborative research. An overall benefit is that stakeholders would be provided analysis on stormwater management practices and information needed for selecting and implementing effective practices to achieve TMDL compliance. Monitoring and decision support tools will help to standardize the process to determining priorities, specifications, and delegating prescriptive actions to ameliorate impacts highways have on the water quality of the nearby tributaries.

Other expected benefits are:

  • Highway specific and watershed scale approach for targeting strategies for pollution control measures and identifying critical source areas. Critical sources are the pollutants that intensively contribute to non-point source pollution loading.
  • The information afforded by the effort should encourage a greater appreciation and knowledge of the benefits of green highway infrastructure.  The research will provide opportunities to view case studies, understand models to measure the benefits, and understand tradeoffs yielded by integrating green infrastructure components and management practices.
  • Development of web resources and decision support tools to inform the transportation agencies and engineering professionals of stormwater management for highway infrastructure.

Web Links to Reports and to the Project website