Pollutional Aspects of Urban Runoff

  • J. Bryan Ellis
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (volume 10)


It is widely recognised that surface waters in urbanised areas are water quality limited and that secondary treatment of dry weather flows is insufficient to improve receiving water quality or to achieve and maintain long term quality objectives. The impact of urban runoff is perceived by many at the local municipal or borough level as limiting and impairing the full and beneficial uses of receiving waters in urban environments. Existing sewer design, operation and management singularly fails to embrace or adequately incorporate the quality dimension and the water industry in both Europe and America has been slow to undertake post-project appraisal in terms of evaluations of storm sewer performance. This is despite the accepted fact that, for example, some 35% of the total annual pollutant levels discharged to receiving waters in the U.K. comes from combined or storm sewer overflows which only operate some 2–3% of the time. It is also a fact that total effluent discharges represent a very significant proportion of most urban river flows (1). A recent US Environmental Protection Agency report (2) stated that urban nonpoint source water quality problems affect some 20% of the nation’s river mileage whilst Heaney and Huber (3) have indicated that 36% of 248 urbanised areas in the US suffer priority runoff problems.


Biochemical Oxygen Demand Urban Runoff Stormwater Runoff Urban Catchment Impermeable Surface 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Bryan Ellis
    • 1
  1. 1.Urban Pollution Research CentreMiddlesex PolytechnicEnfieldUK

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