Measuring and Modeling of Stormwater Runoff from Contaminated Sites in Kearny Marsh

Particpants: Cook College, MERI


The marsh sediment is contaminated with PCB, PAHs, Mercury, Chromium, Lead, Cadmium and Pesticides. The contaminants are entering the Marsh through CSOs and stormwater runoff discharges. But the loads of contaminants discharged in stormwater runoff are currently unknown. The NJMC has made the remediation and restoration of this ecosystem a high priority.


Evaluate the transport of contaminants via surface runoff into this highly industrialized ecosystem and develop an appropriate model that will estimate site-specific contaminant loads in runoff and for a set of priority contaminants of interest (NJTRWP).


Using existing digital maps and images, along with information of known runoff discharge locations and historical sediment chemical profiles of the Kearny Marsh, determine two locations: one from a representative industrial land use and one from a representative urban land use to collect runoff samples from a range of storm sizes. Automatic samplers and Trace Organic Platform Samplers (TOPS) in conjunction with USEPA approved analytical methods will be used to measure the following priority contaminants: Mercury, Chromium, Lead, Cadmium, PCB’s, Pesticides and PAH’s.


  • Prepare the grant application and submit it to NJDEP – completed in January 06.
  • Spatial characterization: elevation, slopes, land use, pervious and impervious surfaces, soil and vegetation cover types.
  • Procurement of automatic samplers and field set-up of runoff and sediment traps.
  • One year sampling campaign designed to capture a range of storm sizes and chemical analysis of the dissolved and sediment adsorbed fractions of surface runoff for organic and inorganic pollutants of concern
  • Continuous recording of rain intensity and rain volume through the operation of a tipping bucket gauge connected to a datalogger.
  • Use of the field collected data in conjunction with the Modified Universal Soil Loss Equation (MUSLE) in conjunction with spatial attributes of basin properties to model total pollutant loads from industrial and urban land uses and under different storm scenarios.


  • Measurements of pollution loads impacting the Kearny Marsh from contaminated runoff of industrial and highly urbanized sites.
  • Calibrated models to predict pollution loads from similar sites that can then be used by NJDEP-SJR as part of its assessment process.
  • Site specific runoff models that can be used by NJDEP as part of the TMDL development process.