Date: 02 Jan 2010

Particulate matter and metals partitioning in highway rainfall-runoff

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Abstract

This study investigated the particulate matter (PM) and metals in highway dry deposition and rainfall-runoff as a function of hydrologic transport and settling on an event basis. Events were differentiated as mass-limited (ML) and flow-limited (FL). Results indicate that unique and separate suspended sediment concentration (SSC) relationships with turbidity occurred for ML and FL events. Sixty minutes of quiescent settling produced a single SSC-turbidity relationship for all events. ML events transport higher proportions of settleable and sediment PM while FL events transported relatively higher suspended PM. For batch clarification with one hour of settling, ML events had generally higher treatment efficiencies compared to FL events for the same settling conditions. Highway dry deposition PM was hetero-disperse and coarse (d 50 m = 304 μm). Results indicate that the acidic rainfall is not a significant contributor to metals in runoff but is capable of leaching metals from dry deposition PM into runoff. Partitioning in retained runoff resulted in a particulate-bound predominance for most metals except Ca and Mg. While the finer fraction of dry deposition PM (< 75 μm) generates the highest metal concentrations, the highest metal mass is associated with the coarser fraction (> 75 μm).