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Evaluation of the Pollutant Content in Road Runoff First Flush Waters

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Road runoff waters are able to convey a number of organic and inorganic pollutants originated by different non-point sources and by the road surface itself. Such pollutants can enter aquatic systems, thus contributing to water and soil contamination. This study was aimed at evaluating the pollutant content in first flush runoff waters from a highway located in Central Italy. A water sampling apparatus was devised able to collect only the first 10 L of runoff water. Water samples were analyzed by atomic absorption spectroscopy, ion chromatography, and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry in order to determine metals, ions, and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, respectively. Soil samples were collected as well for metal and hydrocarbon determination. Results obtained in a field experiment carried out in two different seasons and in two different sites along the highway are reported. The study was extended to water samples collected in a strip of the same road not yet in use.

Results obtained showed a temporal and a spatial variability due to the different period rainfall and to sites features, respectively. Within such a variability, a substantial agreement, in terms of order of magnitude, with other studies carried out in European sites was observed.

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Correspondence to Michela Maione.

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Mangani, G., Berloni, A., Bellucci, F. et al. Evaluation of the Pollutant Content in Road Runoff First Flush Waters. Water Air Soil Pollut 160, 213–228 (2005).

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  • first flush waters
  • heavy metals
  • polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons
  • road runoff
  • soil contamination
  • water contamination