, Volume 186, Issue 10, pp 6789-6803,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 02 Jul 2014

Storm water contamination and its effect on the quality of urban surface waters


We studied the effect of storm water drained by the sewerage system and discharged into a river and a small reservoir, on the example of five catchments located within the boundaries of the city of Poznań (Poland). These catchments differed both in terms of their surface area and land use (single- and multi-family housing, industrial areas). The aim of the analyses was to explain to what extent pollutants found in storm water runoff from the studied catchments affected the quality of surface waters and whether it threatened the aquatic organisms. Only some of the 14 studied variables and 22 chemical elements were important for the water quality of the river, i.e., pH, TSS, rain intensity, temperature, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, organic matter content, Al, Cu, Pb, Zn, Fe, Cd, Ni, Se, and Tl. The most serious threat to biota in the receiver came from the copper contamination of storm water runoff. Of all samples below the sewerage outflow, 74 % exceeded the mean acute value for Daphnia species. Some of them exceeded safe concentrations for other aquatic organisms. Only the outlet from the industrial area with the highest impervious surface had a substantial influence on the water quality of the river. A reservoir situated in the river course had an important influence on the elimination of storm water pollution, despite the very short residence time of its water.