Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MSc)



Program Name/Specialization

Integrative Biology


Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Dr. Kevin Stevens

Advisor Role


Second Advisor

Dr. Jim McGeer

Advisor Role

committee member

Third Advisor

Dr. Robin Slawson

Advisor Role

committee member


The use of stormwater management ponds (SWMPs) has been increasing over the past five decades. However, an in-depth understanding of the daily performance of SWMPs and functionality during cold periods is limited. This is in part because mandated monitoring is relatively infrequent, and the assumption that SWMPs are inactive between storm events and during the winter. The goals of this research were to better understand daily stormwater (SW) characteristics, the performance of SWMPs based on current forms of evaluation and assess the potential for SWMP effluent to impact downstream biota. Influent and effluent samples from two SWMPs were collected daily for 1-year and analyzed for total phosphorus (TP), chloride (Cl-), total suspended solids (TSS), turbidity (Tb), dissolved oxygen (DO), pH and water temperature (WT). The characteristics of SW influent varied between locations and seasons for all parameters except water temperature, which varied across seasons but not locations influent. SW effluent varied between locations and seasons for all parameters except Tb which differed between locations and TSS which was consistent among seasons and location. The number of days with positive removal efficiencies or (influent>effluent concentrations) differed among water quality parameters and location and ranged from a high of 82% of the time for chloride at the Dorwood SWMP and a low of 34.2% for Tb at the Yarmouth SWMP. Effluent concentrations of TP were above eutrophic concentrations 10.7 – 40.2% of the time. Cl- concentrations were above chronic exposure values between 88- 99.46% and acute 21.59 – 55.1% of the time. Chronic elevations (5 mg/L) of TSS from background levels occurred between 65-70% of the time and acute elevations (25 mg/L) between 15-25%. Tb remained below elevated exposure values between 81.4 – 98.6% of the time. DO was below recommended concentrations (5.5 mg/L) between 9-29% of the year. WT was higher in effluent compared to the influent approximately 50% of the time. Results indicate the potential for lethal and behavioural effects on taxa including plants, invertebrates, amphibians, and fish in downstream receiving waters. More extensive monitoring of conditions in SWMP are needed to fully ascertain performance and assess the potential for biotic effects in downstream taxa.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season