Quantifying Spatial and Temporal Deposition of Atmospheric Pollutants in Runoff from Different Pavement Types
Thesis DisciplineCivil Engineering
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Urban development leads to increased impermeable landscapes that interrupt the hydrological cycle by creating an impermeable barrier to the natural infiltration of precipitation. Precipitate, unable to infiltrate, flows over impermeable surfaces as sheet runoff, carrying the pollutants from the land with it; thus comprising the quality of the stormwater. The runoff is redirected (frequently untreated) to nearby waterways altering their water quality and quantity, thereby, adversely affecting receiving aquatic ecosystems. Suspended solids and elevated heavy metal concentrations in stormwater are the leading causes of water quality degradation in urban waterways in New Zealand. It is widely reported that vehicles and metal roofs are a major direct source of the key pollutants (total suspended solids (TSS) and heavy metals) in stormwater runoff; however, the contribution of atmospheric deposition, as an indirect source, in stormwater runoff is rarely considered. This is principally due to the many uncertainties and challenges with measuring and managing these pollutants in stormwater runoff. Therefore, a monitoring programme into the dynamics controlling atmospherically derived pollutant build-up and wash-off from urban surfaces was conducted. In particular, this research focused on the spatial and temporal variability of Cu, Zn, Pb, and TSS deposition in different land-use areas; the influence of pavement type on atmospherically-deposited pollutant loads in stormwater; and the contribution of wet deposition and dry deposition to the total deposition loads.
Impermeable concrete boards (≈ 1 m2) were deployed for 11 months in different land-use areas (industrial, residential and airside) in Christchurch, New Zealand, to capture spatially distributed atmospheric deposition loads in runoff over varying meteorological conditions. Mixed-effect regression models were developed to explain the influence of different meteorological characteristics on pollutant build-up and wash-off dynamics. Next, impermeable asphalt, permeable asphalt, impermeable concrete, and permeable concrete boards were deployed for two months in a residential land-use area to determine the influence of pavement composition and roughness on pollutant loads in stormwater. Finally, wet deposition samples were analysed in an industrial land-use area for 8 months to monitor the contribution of wet deposition to atmospherically-deposited pollutant loads. All samples were analysed for total and dissolved Cu, Zn, Pb, and TSS.
Pavement type: Results showed that both impermeable and permeable concrete were efficient at retaining Cu and Zn. Bitumen leaching from the impermeable asphalt was a significant source of Zn to runoff. However, bitumen leaching from the permeable asphalt did not contain elevated Zn loads. Infiltrate from the permeable asphalt provided little/no removal of Cu and Zn. Impermeable asphalt provided greater retention of TSS and Pb over impermeable concrete because its rougher surface entrapped more particulates. TSS and Pb loads were the lowest from the permeable pavements due to the pavers filtering out particulates.
Spatial variability: Results showed that all three land-use areas exhibited similar patterns of varying metal and TSS loads, indicating that atmospherically-deposited metals and TSS had a homogenous distribution within the Christchurch airshed. This suggested that the pollutants originated from a similar source and that the surrounding land-use was not an important factor in determining atmospheric pollutant loads to stormwater runoff. Although, higher pollutant loads were found for the industrial area, this was attributed to local topographic conditions rather than land-use activity.
Temporal variability: Results illustrated the importance of antecedent dry days on pollutant build-up. Peak rainfall intensity and rain duration had a significant relationship with TSS and Pb wash-off; rain depth had a significant relationship with Cu and Zn wash-off. This suggested that the pollutant speciation phase plays an important role in surface wash-off. Rain intensity and duration influenced particulate pollutants, whereas, rain depth influenced dissolved pollutants. Additionally, mixed-effect models could predict approximately 53-69% of the variation in airborne pollutant loads in runoff.
Deposition pathways: Wet deposition was an important contributor of dissolved Zn to stormwater runoff. However, dry deposition was the greatest source of total Cu, Zn, and Pb loads in stormwater runoff. This is principally due to the low annual rainfall in Christchurch limiting pollutant removal via wet deposition unlike dry deposition, which is continually occurring.
Understanding the dynamics of airborne pollutant deposition and their contribution to stormwater pollution could help stormwater managers in strategic decision-making processes such as choice of location and installation of different treatment systems.