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Sci Total Environ. 2008 Jun 25;396(2-3):147-63. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2008.02.002. Epub 2008 Apr 2.

Runoff of particle bound pollutants from urban impervious surfaces studied by analysis of sediments from stormwater traps.

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  • 1Geological Survey of Norway, NO-7491 Trondheim, Norway.


Runoff sediments from 68 small stormwater traps around the harbor of urban Bergen, Norway, were sampled and the concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), heavy metals, and total organic carbon (TOC) were determined in addition to grain size. Our study provides empirical data from a large area in the interface between the urban and marine environment, studying the active transport of pollutants from land-based sources. The results of the analyses clearly demonstrate the importance of the urban environment representing a variety of contamination sources, and that stormwater runoff is an important dispersion mechanism of toxic pollutants. The concentrations of different pollutants in urban runoff sediments show that there are several active pollution sources supplying the sewage systems with PCBs, PAHs and heavy metals such as lead (Pb), zinc (Zn) and cadmium (Cd). The concentration of PCB7 in the urban runoff sediments ranged between < 0.0004 and 0.704 mg/kg. For PAH16, the concentration range was < 0.2-80 mg/kg, whereas the concentration ranges of Pb, Zn and Cd were 9-675, 51.3-4670 and 0.02-11.1 mg/kg respectively. Grain size distribution in 21 selected samples varied from a median particle diameter of 13 to 646 microm. However, several samples had very fine-grained particles even up to the 90 percentile of the samples, making them available for stormwater dispersion in suspended form. The sampling approach proposed in this paper will provide environmental authorities with a useful tool to examine ongoing urban contamination of harbors and similar recipients.

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