From streets to streams: Assessing the toxicity potential of urban sediment by particle size

Science of the Total Environment
By: , and 

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Abstract

Urban sediment can act as a transport mechanism for a variety of pollutants to move towards a receiving water body. The concentrations of these pollutants oftentimes exceed levels that are toxic to aquatic organisms. Many treatment structures are designed to capture coarse sediment but do not work well to similarly capture the fines. This study measured concentrations of select trace metals and PAHs in both the silt and sand fractions of urban sediment from four sources: stormwater bed, stormwater suspended, street dirt, and streambed. Concentrations were used to assess the toxic potential of sediment based on published sediment quality guidelines. All sources of sediment showed some level of toxic potential with stormwater bed sediment the highest followed by stormwater suspended, street dirt, and streambed. Both metal and PAH concentration distributions were highly correlated between the four sampling locations suggesting the presence of one or perhaps only a few sources of these pollutants which remain persistent as sediment is transported from street to stream. Comparison to other forms of combustion- and vehicle-related sources of PAHs revealed coal tar sealants to have the strongest correlation, in both the silt and sand fractions, at all four sampling sites. This information is important for environmental managers when selecting the most appropriate Best Management Practice (BMP) as a way to mitigate pollution conveyed in urban stormwater from source to sink.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title From streets to streams: Assessing the toxicity potential of urban sediment by particle size
Series title Science of the Total Environment
DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2012.11.094
Volume 444
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Wisconsin Water Science Center
Description 11 p.
First page 381
Last page 391
Country United States
State Wisconsin
City Madison, Milwaukee
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