Materials washed by rain and snowmelt from highways into adjacent surface waters, ground waters, and ecosystems can pollute water and affect biota. To understand the chemical behavior of any one of these materials and its effects on the environment requires knowledge of the chemistry of the material and how it interacts with other components in the local geochemical system. An integrated watershed approach, therefore, would be the most effective method to assess the effects of highway runoff on local receiving waters. Analysis of one or a few specific contaminants will provide limited and incomplete information and may be misleading in terms of environmental effects. This report addresses the background geochemistry required to model highway runoff and to make realistic assessments of the potential effects of runoff on the environment.
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USGS Numbered Series
An Overview of the Factors Involved in Evaluating the Geochemical Effects of Highway Runoff on the Environment