Precipitation Pattern

The %Score of dissolved oxygen (DO) in 2014 increased from 41 to 58 though the precipitation pattern was slightly worse in 2014 than in 2013. There are many factors that influence water quality as discussed below. Thus, the relationship between the precipitation pattern and %Score of DO is quite complex.

Because the District has a Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) system that carries raw sewage and rainwater in the same pipe, the mixture will be discharged when it rains approximately more than 0.5 inches. After an intense rainfall, AWS has observed from our monitoring that DO values become very low for approximately 2 weeks. Then, we counted the number of days in a year that would fall into such a 2 week period. The result is summarized in the table below.

Year 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Number of days that had intense (equal to or greater than 1 inch) precipitation in the previous 14 days 104 48 55 58 93 103

It turned out that we had intense rainfall events in 2009, 2013, and 2014 frequently from April through October, the time duration from which we use the DO data for our assessment.

The graphs for each year are shown below (click on graphs for full size). The shaded areas represent the days that had intense rainfall events for 14 days prior to those day.

In 2009, one more day was influenced negatively by intense rainfall than in 2014, however, DO values were better than those in 2014 (i.e., %Score (72) in 2009 was higher than that (58) in 2014). This is probably because the intensity of rainfall was stronger in 2014 than in 2009 though the frequency was similar. Also, the tide might have influenced DO values. If there is an intense rainfall when the tide is coming in, the CSO discharge will be carried to upstream portion of the Anacostia, thus, the negative influence will remain longer. There are many factors that influence DO values.

There are many factors that influence DO values. The weather pattern is definitely one of the most influential factors.

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