Urban Streams

The goal of these projects is to add to our understanding of urban hydrology through assessments of stream health and monitoring stormwater control measures to improve stream health.  For publications, see the bottom of the page.  See also the Stormwater Control Monitoring tab for related publications.


William Penn Foundation  Our project in the suburbs of Philadelphia is part of a larger effort called the Delaware River Watershed Initiative with groups working in different parts of the watershed.  Our cluster works in suburban Philadelphia streams.

National Science Foundation for work on the Urban Critical Zone Network, along with colleagues from University of Maryland Baltimore County and others.

Installing subsurface stormwater sampling bottle

Stormwater sampler in discharge pipe


Incised bank


IR image of groundwater discharge on stream bank


Sampling stream tracer test

Drove flight over a stormwater basin


Be sure to see Groundwater-surface water interaction tab for more publications related to this topic and Grad Students tab for theses on this topic.

Kirker, A.N. and Toran, L., 2023. When impervious cover doesn’t predict urban runoff: Lessons from distributed overland flow modeling. Journal of Hydrology, 621, p.129539. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2023.129539

Oswald, C.J., Kelleher, C., Ledford, S.H., Hopkins, K.G., Sytsma, A., Tetzlaff, D., Toran, L., Voter, C., 2023.  Integrating urban water fluxes and moving beyond impervious surface cover: A review.  Journal of Hydrology, 618: doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2023.129188

Kirker, A.N. and Toran, L. 2023.  Dual isotopes of nitrate reveal varying flow paths to stormwater retention basins.  Catena 220: 106681.

Ledford, S.H. Diamond, J.S., and Toran, L. 2021. Large spatiotemporal variability in metabolic regimes for an urban stream draining four wastewater treatment plants with implications for dissolved oxygen monitoring. PLOS ONE. 16(8) e0256292 https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0256292 pdf

Beganskas, S., and Toran, L. 2021. Urban stream temperature patterns: Spatial and temporal heterogeneity in the Philadelphia region, Pennsylvania, USA.  Accepted in Hydrological Processes. pdf

Beganskas et al.,  2021. Coupling PCSWMM and WASP to evaluate green stormwater infrastructure impacts to storm sediment loads in an urban watershed.  Journal of the American Water Resources Association. 57 (1): 134-153 pdf.

Ledford, S.H., Kurz, M., and Toran, L. 2021.  Contrasting Raz-Rru stream metabolism and nutirent uptake downstream of urban wastewater effluent sites.  Freshwater Science. 40:  pdf.

Ledford, S.H. and Toran, L. 2020. Downstream evolution of wastewater treatment plan nutrient signals using high-temporal monitoring.  Hydrological Processes 34: 852-864. pdf

Rossi, R.J. and Toran, L. 2019. Exploring the potential for groundwater inundation in coastal US cities due to interactions between sewer infrastructure and global change. Environmental Earth Sciences 78: 258. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12665-019-8261-9 pdf

Arnold, E., & Toran, L. (2018). Effects of Bank Vegetation and Incision on Erosion Rates in an Urban Stream. Water, 10(4), 482. pdf

Price, J. R., Ledford, S. H., Ryan, M. O., Toran, L., & Sales, C. M. (2018). Wastewater treatment plant effluent introduces recoverable shifts in microbial community composition in receiving streams. Science of the Total Environment, 613, 1104-1116. pdf

Toran, L. and Jedrzejczyk , C. 2017.  Water level monitoring to assess the effectiveness of stormwater infiltration trenches.  Environmental and Engineering Geosciences. 23(2): 113-124. pdf

Toran, L.  2016.  Water level loggers as a low-cost tool for monitoring of stormwater control measures. Water. 8, 346; doi:10.3390/w8080346 (10 pp) pdf

Klein, T and Toran, L.  2016.  Collocation of hydrologic and biological attenuation of nitrate in an urban stream.  Hydrological Processes.  in press DOI: 10.1002/hyp.10821 pdf

Toran, L, Hughes, B., Nyquist, J.E. Ryan, R. 2012. Using hydrogeophysics to monitor change in hyporheic flow around stream restoration structures. Environmental & Engineering Geoscience, 18, 83-97.

Toran, L., Gross, K., and Yang, Y. Effects of restricted recharge in an urban karst system. Environmental Geology, 58: 131-139.  Be sure to see Karst tab for more publications on this topic.

Toran, L. and Grandstaff, D. 2007. Variation of nitrogen concentrations in stormpipe discharge in a residential watershed. Journal of the American Water Resources Association. 43(3): 630-641.

Ham, Jeffrey, Toran, Laura, and Cruz, Jay, 2006. Effect of upstream ponds on stream temperature. Environmental Geology. DOI: 10.1007/s00254-006-0186-4

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