The influence of urban surface type and characteristics on runoff water quality (2020)
Untreated runoff was collected over multiple rain events from 19 impermeable urban surfaces, including nine roofs, six roads and four carparks, to quantify the differences in water quality due to surface type, age, condition and location. All 19 sites were exposed to the same climatic conditions. Samples were analyzed for key urban pollutants of concern, namely total suspended solids and total and dissolved copper and zinc. Results showed uncoated zinc-based roofs produced zinc concentrations (up to 55 mg/L) several orders of magnitude higher than receiving environment water quality guidelines in New Zealand, of which the vast majority was in dissolved form. Even non-metallic roofs with zinc-based guttering produced zinc concentrations over ten times higher than the same roof material without zinc-based guttering. Older zinc-based roofs had approximately five times higher zinc concentrations, demonstrating a substantial age effect on the untreated runoff quality. Similarly, copper roofs produced more than an order of magnitude higher copper concentrations (up to 7.8 mg/L) above the next highest copper-producing surfaces: higher trafficked roads and carparks. Regardless of traffic volume or function, all roads and carparks produced high TSS concentrations. Dissolved metal concentrations were high across the dataset confirming that metal partitioning is an important consideration for effective pollutant control as different removal processes need to be used for dissolved versus particulate metals. This dataset provides an important benchmark of untreated runoff quality across different impermeable surface types within the same geographical area and clearly shows the influence of surface characteristics on water quality runoff regardless of the local differences in land use. These findings provide valuable guidance to stormwater managers in identifying priority surfaces and selection of appropriate treatment strategies for effective stormwater management for total suspended solids, zinc and copper.
CitationCharters FJ, Cochrane TA, O’Sullivan AD (2020). The influence of urban surface type and characteristics on runoff water quality. Science of The Total Environment. 142470-142470.
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KeywordsImpermeable surfaces; total suspended solids; zinc; copper; particulate metals; dissolved metals
ANZSRC Fields of Research41 - Environmental sciences::4105 - Pollution and contamination::410504 - Surface water quality processes and contaminated sediment assessment
37 - Earth sciences::3707 - Hydrology::370705 - Urban hydrology
RightsAll rights reserved unless otherwise stated
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