Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 36, pp 36256–36266 | Cite as

Characteristic contaminants in snowpack and snowmelt surface runoff from different functional areas in Beijing, China

  • Donghai Yuan
  • Yuqin Liu
  • Xujing GuoEmail author
  • Jianying Liu
Research Article


Characteristics of physicochemical parameters, dissolved-phase heavy metals, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were investigated for 68 urban snowmelt surface runoff and snowpack samples collected from five different functional areas in Beijing, including a business area (BA), a cultural and educational area (CEA), a garden area (GA), a residential area (RA), and a roadside area (RSA). Both snowmelt surface runoff and snowpack were significantly polluted by organic matter, as indicated by their high concentrations of chemical oxygen demand (COD) and total organic carbon (TOC). Among the 11 heavy metals analyzed, Zn was the most enriched in all samples, followed by Mn, Fe, and Cu, whereas the concentrations of Pb, Cr, Cd, As, Ni, Sb, and Co were comparatively low. The results suggested that typical traffic emissions, natural events, industrial practices, and human activities were mainly sources of heavy metals. Low molecular-weight (LMW) PAHs were the dominant sources in snowmelt and snowpack. Anthracene (Ant) and fluorene (Flo) were the most enriched PAHs in both snowmelt surface runoff and snowpack. Coal burning for heating and traffic activities were the most important contributors of PAH pollutants in snowmelt surface runoff and snowpack in Beijing in the winter. Ecological risk assessment demonstrated, however, that heavy metals in snowmelt surface runoff pose little risk to downstream aquatic environments. A middle potential ecological risk could be caused by Ant, Flo, benzo[g, h, i]perylene (BghiP), and benzo[a]pyrene (BaA).


Stormwater runoff Snowmelt Snowpack Heavy metals PAHs Ecological risk assessment 



This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (project nos. 51578037 and 51608061) and the Guangxi Province Technology Major Project (no. AA17202032).

Supplementary material

11356_2018_3501_MOESM1_ESM.docx (29 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 29 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donghai Yuan
    • 1
  • Yuqin Liu
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Xujing Guo
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jianying Liu
    • 2
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Urban Stormwater System and Water Environment, Ministry of EducationBeijing University of Civil Engineering and ArchitectureBeijingChina
  2. 2.College of Resources and EnvironmentChengdu University of Information TechnologyChengduChina
  3. 3.College of Water SciencesBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina

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