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Scientific Investigations Report 2015–5069

Prepared in cooperation with the City of Rapid City

Water-Quality Characteristics of Stormwater Runoff in Rapid City, South Dakota, 2008–14

By Galen K. Hoogestraat

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (2.37 MB)Abstract

The water quality of Rapid Creek is important because the reach that flows through Rapid City, South Dakota, is a valuable spawning area for a self-sustaining trout fishery, actively used for recreation, and a seasonal municipal water supply for the City of Rapid City. This report presents the current (2008–14) water-quality characteristics of urban stormwater runoff in selected drainage networks within the City of Rapid City, and provides an evaluation of the pollutant reductions of wetland channels implemented as a best-management practice. Stormwater runoff data were collected at nine sites in three drainage basins within Rapid City: the Arrowhead (2 monitoring sites), Meade-Hawthorne (1 monitoring site), and Downtown (6 monitoring sites) drainage basins. Stormwater runoff was evaluated for concentrations of total suspended solids (TSS) and bacteria at sites in the Arrowhead and Meade-Hawthorne drainage basins, and for concentrations of TSS, chloride, bacteria, nutrients, and metals at sites in the Downtown drainage basin.

For the Arrowhead and Meade-Hawthorne sites, event-mean concentrations typically exceeded the TSS and bacteria beneficial-use criteria for Rapid Creek by 1–2 orders of magnitude. Comparing the two drainage basins, median TSS event-mean concentrations were more than two times greater at the Meade-Hawthorne outlet (520 milligrams per liter) than the Arrowhead outlet (200 milligrams per liter). Median fecal coliform bacteria event-mean concentrations also were greater at the Meade-Hawthorne outlet site (30,000 colony forming units per 100 milliliters) than the Arrowhead outlet site (17,000 colony forming units per 100 milliliters). A comparison to relevant standards indicates that stormwater runoff from the Downtown drainage basin exceeded criteria for bacteria and TSS, but concentrations generally were below standards for nutrients and metals. Stormwater-quality conditions from the Downtown drainage basin outfalls were similar to or better than stormwater-quality conditions observed in the Arrowhead and Meade-Hawthorne drainage basins. Three wetland channels located at the outlet of the Downtown drainage basin were evaluated for their pollutant reduction capability. Mean reductions in TSS and lead concentrations were greater than 40 percent for all three wetland channels. Total nitrogen, phosphorus, copper, and zinc concentrations also were reduced by at least 20 percent at all three wetlands. Fecal coliform bacteria concentrations typically were reduced by about 21 and 36 percent at the 1st and 2nd Street wetlands, respectively, but the reduction at the 3rd Street wetland channel was nearly zero percent. Total wetland storage volume affected pollutant reductions because TSS, phosphorus, and ammonia reductions were greatest in the wetland with the greatest volume. Chloride concentrations typically increased from inflow to outflow at the 2nd and 3rd Street wetland channels.

First posted May 15, 2015

For additional information, contact:
Director, South Dakota Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
1608 Mountain View Road
Rapid City, South Dakota 57702

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Suggested citation:

Hoogestraat, G.K., 2015, Water-quality characteristics of stormwater runoff in Rapid City, South Dakota, 2008–14: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2015–5069, 27 p.,

ISSN 2328-0328 (online)






Water-Quality Characteristics of Stormwater


References Cited

Appendix 1

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