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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Pipe vs. The Shed: Waste Water compared with Natural Hydrology in an Urban Setting

  • Author(s): Lather, Alaska;
  • Wozniak, Monika
  • et al.

The scope of this paper was to compare the hydrology of the East Bay Municipal District's Wastewater Treatment Plant in West Oakland with the adjacent stream watershed, Temescal Creek Watershed.  These two systems vary greatly in scale and water usage.  TThis project aims to look at the imported and piped water system in a similar way as one would approach a stream and watershed hydrology.  Using stream flow data for the creek, it was scaled to the size of the whole watershed.  The data was compared with precipitation to put perspective on a limited number of years of stream flow.  The latest year of outflows from the WWTP was obtained.  The data was compared via seasonal distribution, mean daily flow, and annual volume.  The Temescal Creek Watershed flow was scaled to the same size of the WWTP service (from 7.11 sq. mi. to 88 sq. mi.) to estimate local flow through the system versus imported flow.  Peak flows for the stream gauge were scaled to the watershed and compared with the peak flow for the WWTP.  Finally, pollutants found in both were compared.  Flow and volume were found to be 35 times greater in the treatment plant than in the watershed.  However, the peak flows through the watershed come close to the peak flows experienced in the WWTP.  The correlations and differences look at greater questions of how we as humans use water in ways much greater than what is readily available around us.

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