Forensic taphonomy is an essential research field; however, the decomposition of human cadavers at forensic science facilities may lead to nutrient loading and the introduction of unique biological compounds to adjacent areas. The infrastructure of a water retention system may provide a mechanism for the biogeochemical processing and retention of nutrients and compounds, ensuring the control of runoff from forensic facilities. This work provides a proof of concept for a hydrologic retention system and an autonomous water quality monitoring program designed to mitigate runoff from The Southeast Texas Applied Forensic Science (STAFS) Facility. Water samples collected along a sample transect were analyzed for total phosphorous, total nitrogen, NO3-, NO2-, NH4, F(-), and Cl(-). Preliminary water quality analyses confirm the overall effectiveness of the water retention system. These results are discussed with relation to how this infrastructure can be expanded upon to monitor additional, more novel, byproducts of forensic science research facilities.
Keywords: forensic science; forensic taphonomy; nutrient loading; runoff; water quality; wetlands.
© 2014 American Academy of Forensic Sciences.