USGS Washington Water Science Center
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In some areas of the state, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) sometimes directs the storm-water runoff from highways into detention basins that store the water until it infiltrates into the ground. Because most of the water eventually percolates to the water table, and because runoff from highways can contain contaminants, using roadside detention basins may degrade ground-water quality. Little is known, however, about the effects of using detention basins on ground-water quality.
To aid the WSDOT in designing and employing detention basins, the USGS investigated the effects of ground-water recharge from a highway storm-water retention basin on ground-water quality. Also studied were the processes that can potentially control or affect the quality of water that percolates from the detention basin to the water table.