Water, Air, & Soil Pollution

, Volume 214, Issue 1–4, pp 147–162

Spatial Distribution of Bulk Atmospheric Deposition of Heavy Metals in Metropolitan Sydney, Australia



The detailed spatial distribution of atmospheric deposition flux of pollutants in metropolitan Sydney, Australia (ca. 480 km2) is investigated through the direct simultaneous sampling of bulk deposition adjacent to roads with various traffic volumes and at background sites over a period of 1 year. Based on the field results and detailed land-use analyses, atmospheric deposition rates of copper, lead and zinc are calculated for the metropolitan region, and the contributions to stormwater pollutant loads are evaluated. Total particulates and heavy metals in bulk atmospheric deposition are found to be temporally consistent, and to exhibit strong correlations with road proximity and traffic volume. The material captured adjacent to major roads has a distinct average composition of 862 mg/kg copper, 364 mg/kg lead and 4,617 mg/kg zinc. Modelling accounting for road proximity, traffic volume and land-use affords annualised stormwater-entrainable depositional fluxes of 6.5, 4.1, 47.2 and 10,800 kg/km2/year for copper, lead and zinc.


Atmospheric deposition Heavy metals Stormwater Urban Pollution Roads 


  1. ABS (2006). National regional profiles for local government areas, Statistics of the 2006 Census, Australia Bureau of Statistics, Australia. http://www.abs.gov.au.
  2. Azimi, S., Ludwig, A., Thevenot, D., & Colin, J.-L. (2003). Trace metal determination in total atmospheric deposition in rural and urban areas. Science of the Total Environment, 308(1–3), 247–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Azimi, S., Rocher, V., Muller, M., Moilleron, R., & Thevenot, D. (2005). Sources, distribution and variability of hydrocarbons and metals in atmospheric deposition in an urban area (Paris, France). Science of the Total Environment, 337(1–3), 223–239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bertling, S., Odnevall-Wallinder, I., Leygraf, C., & Berggren Kleja, D. (2006). Occurrence and fate of corrosion-induced zinc in runoff water from external structures. Science of the Total Environment, 367(2–3), 908–923.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Birch, G., & Scollen, A. (2003). Heavy metals in road dust, gully pots and parkland soils in a highly urbanised sub-catchment of Port Jackson, Australia. Australian Journal of Soil Research, 41, 1329–1342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Birch, G., & Taylor, S. (1999). Sources of heavy metals in sediments of the Port Jackson estuary, Australia. Science of the Total Environment, 227(2–3), 123–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Birch, G., Fazeli, M., & Matthai, C. (2005). Efficiency of an infiltration basin in removing contaminants from urban stormwater. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 101(1–3), 23–38.Google Scholar
  8. Blok, J. (2005). Environmental exposure of road borders to zinc. Science of the Total Environment, 348(1–3), 173–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Councell, T., Duckenfield, K., Landa, E., & Callender, E. (2004). Tire-wear particles as a source of zinc to the environment. Environmental Science and Technology, 38(15), 4206–4214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Davis, A. P., Shokouhian, M., & Ni, S. (2001). Loading estimates of lead, copper, cadmium, and zinc in urban runoff from specific sources. Chemosphere, 44(5), 997–1009.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. de Caritat, P., Lech, M., Jaireth, S., Pyke, J., & Fisher, A. (2007). Riverina Region Geochemical Survey, Southern New South Wales and Northern Victoria. Open File Report 234, Cooperative Research Centre for Landscape Environments and Mineral Exploration (CRC LEME), Australia.Google Scholar
  12. Fang, H. L., Dong, Y., Gu, B., Hao, G. J., Lv, Z. W., Liang, J., et al. (2009). Distribution of heavy metals and arsenic in greenbelt roadside soils of Pudong New District in Shanghai. Soil & Sediment Contamination, 18(6), 702–714.Google Scholar
  13. Fletcher, T., Duncan, H., Poelsma, P., & Lloyd, S. (2004). Stormwater flow and quality and the effectiveness of non-proprietary stormwater treatment measures—A review and gap analysis. Technical Report 04/8, Cooperative Research Centre for Catchment Hydrology, Australia.Google Scholar
  14. Garnaud, S., Mouchel, J.-M., Chebbo, G., & Thevenot, D. (1999). Heavy metal concentrations in dry and wet atmospheric deposits in Paris district: Comparison with urban runoff. Science of the Total Environment, 235(1–3), 235–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Harmon, S. M. (2009). Effects of pollution on freshwater organisms. Water Environment Research, 81(10), 2030–2069.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Harrison, R., & Johnston, W. (1985). Deposition fluxes of lead, cadmium, copper and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) on the verges of a major highway. Science of the Total Environment, 46(1–4), 121–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hjortenkrans, D., Bergback, B., & Haggerud, A. (2006). New metal emission patterns in road traffic environments. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 117(1–3), 85–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Irvine, I., & Birch, G. (1998). Distribution of heavy metals in surficial sediments of Port Jackson, Sydney, New South Wales. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 45(2), 297–304.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Karlen, C., Wallinder, I., Heijerick, D., Leygraf, C., & Janssen, C. R. (2001). Runoff rates and ecotoxicity of zinc induced by atmospheric corrosion. Science of the Total Environment, 277(1–3), 169–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kemp, K. (2002). Trends and sources for heavy metals in urban atmosphere. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms, 189(1–4), 227–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lawrence, M. (2007). Modelling atmospheric deposition of vehicular emissions in an Australian urban environment. Master’s Thesis, School of Geosciences, University of Sydney, Australia.Google Scholar
  22. Legret, M., & Pagotto, C. (2006). Heavy metal deposition and soil pollution along two major rural highways. Environmental Technology, 27(3), 247–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Liaghati, T., Preda, M., & Cox, M. (2003). Heavy metal distribution and controlling factors within coastal plain sediments, Bells Creek catchment, Southeast Queensland, Australia. Environment International, 29(7), 935–948.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lough, G., Schauer, J., Park, J.-S., Shafer, M., Deminter, J., & Weinstein, J. (2005). Emissions of metals associated with motor vehicle roadways. Environmental Science and Technology, 39(3), 826–836.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Madrid, F., Reinoso, R., Florido, M. C., Barrientos, E. D., Ajmone-Marsan, F., Davidson, C. M., et al. (2007). Estimating the extractability of potentially toxic metals in urban soils: A comparison of several extracting solutions. Environmental Pollution, 147(3), 713–722.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. McKenzie, E. R., Money, J. E., Green, P. G., & Young, T. M. (2009). Metals associated with stormwater-relevant brake and tire samples. Science of the Total Environment, 407(22), 5855–5860.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mearns, A. J., Reish, D. J., Oshida, P. S., Buchman, M., Ginn, T., & Donnelly, R. (2009). Effects of pollution on marine organisms. Water Environment Research, 81(10), 2070–2125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Mirlean, N., Robinson, D., Kawashita, K., Vignol, M. L, Conceicao, R., & Chemale, F. (2005). Identification of local sources of lead in atmospheric deposits in an urban area in Southern Brazil using stable lead isotope ratios. Atmospheric Environment, 39(33), 6204–6212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Morselli, L., Olivieri, P., Brusori, B., & Passarini, F. (2003). Soluble and insoluble fractions of heavy metals in wet and dry atmospheric depositions in Bologna, Italy. Environmental Pollution, 124(3), 457–469.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Motelay-Massei, A., Ollivon, D., Tiphagne, K., & Garban, B. (2005). Atmospheric bulk deposition of trace metals to the Seine River Basin, France: Concentrations, sources and evolution from 1988 to 2001 in Paris. Water Air and Soil Pollution, 164(1–4), 119–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Murakami, M., Nakajima, F., Furumai, H., Tomiyasu, B., & Owari, M. (2007). Identification of particles containing chromium and lead in road dust and soakaway sediment by electron probe microanalyser. Chemosphere, 67(10), 2000–2010.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Odnevall-Wallinder, I., Leygraf, C., Karlen, C., Heijerick, D., & Janssen, C. (2001). Atmospheric corrosion of zinc-based materials: Runoff rates, chemical speciation and ecotoxicity effects. Corrosion Science, 43(5), 809–816.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Olmos, M., & Birch, G. (2008). Application of sediment-bound heavy metals in studies of estuarine health: A case study of Brisbane Water Estuary, New South Wales. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 55, 641–654.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Paode, R., Sofuoglu, S., Sivadechathep, J., Noll, K., Holsen, T., & Keeler, G. (1998). Deposition fluxes and mass size distributions of Pb, Cu, and Zn measured in southern Lake Michigan during AEOLOS. Environmental Science and Technology, 32(11), 1629–1635.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Papaefthymiou, H., & Anousis, J. (2006). Spatial variations in elemental deposition rates in southern Greece: A two-city study. Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry, 270(2), 399–405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Peters, N. E. (2009). Effects of urbanization on stream water quality in the city of Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Hydrological Processes, 23(20), 2860–2878.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Preciado, H. F., Li, L. Y., & Weis, D. (2007). Investigation of past and present multi-metal input along two highways of British Columbia, Canada, using lead isotopic signatures. Water, Air and Soil Pollution, 184(1–4), 127–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Rand, G. M., & Schuler, L. J. (2009). Aquatic risk assessment of metals in sediment from South Florida canals. Soil & Sediment Contamination, 18(2), 155–172.Google Scholar
  39. Revitt, D., Hamilton, R., & Warren, R. (1990). The transport of heavy metals within a small urban catchment. Science of the Total Environment, 93, 359–373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Rocher, V., Azimi, S., Gasperi, J., Beuvin, L., Muller, M., Moilleron, R., et al. (2004). Hydrocarbons and metals in atmospheric deposition and roof runoff in central Paris. Water, Air and Soil Pollution, 159(1), 67–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Root, R. A. (2000). Lead loading of urban streets by motor vehicle wheel weights. Environmental Health Perspectives, 108(10), 937–940.Google Scholar
  42. Sabin, L. D., & Schiff, K. C. (2008). Dry atmospheric deposition rates of metals along a coastal transect in Southern California. Atmospheric Environment, 42(27), 6606–6613.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Sakata, M., Marumoto, K., Narukawa, M., & Asakura, K. (2006). Regional variations in wet and dry deposition fluxes of trace elements in Japan. Atmospheric Environment, 40(3), 521–531.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Sanger, D., Holland, A., & Scott, G. (1999). Tidal creek and salt marsh sediments in South Carolina coastal estuaries: I. Distribution of trace metals. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 37(4), 445–457.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Sharma, R. K., Agrawal, M., & Marshall, F. M. (2008). Atmospheric deposition of heavy metals (Cu, Zn, Cd and Pb) in Varanasi City, India. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 142(1–3), 269–278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Shi, G. T., Chen, Z. L., Xu, S. Y., Zhang, J., Wang, L., Bi, C. J., et al. (2008). Potentially toxic metal contamination of urban soils and roadside dust in Shanghai, China. Environmental Pollution, 156(2), 251–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Snowdon, R., & Birch, G. (2004). The nature and distribution of copper, lead, and zinc in soils of a highly urbanised sub-catchment (Iron Cove) of Port Jackson, Sydney. Australian Journal of Soil Research, 42, 329–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Sutherland, R. A., & Tolosa, C. A. (2001). Variation in total and extractable elements with distance from roads in an urban watershed, Honolulu, Hawaii. Water Air and Soil Pollution, 127(1–4), 315–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Sweet, C., Weiss, A., & Vermette, S. (1998). Atmospheric deposition of trace metals at three sites near the great lakes. Water, Air and Soil Pollution, 103(1–4), 423–439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Tasić, M., Mijić, Z., Rajšić, S., Stojić, A., Radenković, M., & Joksić, J. (2009). Source apportionment of atmospheric bulk deposition in the Belgrade urban area using positive matrix factorization. Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 162, 012018.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Thorpe, A., & Harrison, R. M. (2008). Sources and properties of non-exhaust particulate matter from road traffic: A review. Science of the Total Environment, 400(1–3), 270–282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Tramontano, J., Scudlark, J., & Church, T. (1987). A method for the collection, handling, and analysis of trace metals in precipitation. Environmental Science and Technology, 21, 749–753.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. US EPA. (1983). Results of the nationwide urban runoff program: volume 1—Final report. National Technical Information Service Publication No. 83-185552. USA: United States Environmental Protection Agency.Google Scholar
  54. Wong, C. S. C., Li, X. D., Zhang, G., Qi, S. H., & Peng, X. Z. (2003). Atmospheric deposition of heavy metals in the Pearl River Delta, China. Atmospheric Environment, 37(6), 767–776.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Environmental Geology Group, Department of GeosciencesUniversity of SydneyNSWAustralia

Personalised recommendations