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Chemosphere. 2001 Aug;44(5):997-1009.

Loading estimates of lead, copper, cadmium, and zinc in urban runoff from specific sources.

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Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park 20742, USA.


Urban stormwater runoff is being recognized as a substantial source of pollutants to receiving waters. A number of investigators have found significant levels of metals in runoff from urban areas, especially in highway runoff. As an initiatory study, this work estimates lead, copper, cadmium, and zinc loadings from various sources in a developed area utilizing information available in the literature, in conjunction with controlled experimental and sampling investigations. Specific sources examined include building siding and roofs; automobile brakes, tires, and oil leakage; and wet and dry atmospheric deposition. Important sources identified are building siding for all four metals, vehicle brake emissions for copper and tire wear for zinc. Atmospheric deposition is an important source for cadmium, copper, and lead. Loadings and source distributions depend on building and automobile density assumptions and the type of materials present in the area examined. Identified important sources are targeted for future comprehensive mechanistic studies. Improved information on the metal release and distributions from the specific sources, along with detailed characterization of watershed areas will allow refinements in the predictions.

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