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Development of a Laboratory Method for the Comparison of Settling Processes of Road-Deposited Sediments with Artificial Test Material

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Sediments deposited on road surfaces are contaminated with pollutants; the load of pollution increases from coarse to fine particles. When it rains, different fractions of the road-deposited sediments are washed off depending on the rain intensity, the slope of the catchment, and other site-specific factors. This road runoff is often treated using settling processes implemented in different types of manufactured treatment devices. These devices can be tested with well-defined artificial test materials to determine the removal efficiencies of particulate matter in a reproducible manner. However, the suitability of the currently deployed artificial test materials to represent the settling behavior of real runoff particle collectives is largely unknown. In this study, a laboratory method to measure and compare the settling behavior of artificial and real particle collectives with a reproducible particle size composition was developed. The particle collectives were obtained from different road surfaces, fractionated into sieve classes, and then recomposed into a defined particle size distribution that represented the road runoff. The settling velocity was analyzed in a modified settling column setup under constant conditions. The resulting data form a cumulative curve of the settling velocities for both artificial and real particle collectives. The main result from this work is that the tested artificial material and the recomposed real particle collectives have comparable settling behaviors despite different losses on ignition and densities.

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This paper was partially funded by the doctoral scholarship program of the German Federal Environmental Foundation (Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt, DBU) for Laura Gelhardt.

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Correspondence to Antje Welker.

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Gelhardt, L., Huber, M. & Welker, A. Development of a Laboratory Method for the Comparison of Settling Processes of Road-Deposited Sediments with Artificial Test Material. Water Air Soil Pollut 228, 467 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11270-017-3650-8

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  • Lab-scale column experiment
  • Particle size distribution
  • Settling velocity
  • Road-deposited sediments
  • Quartz sand