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Environ Sci Technol. 2014;48(1):45-53. doi: 10.1021/es402664t. Epub 2013 Dec 5.

Stormwater dissolved organic matter: influence of land cover and environmental factors.

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Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Wayne State University , Detroit, Michigan 48202, United States.


Dissolved organic matter (DOM) plays a major role in defining biological systems and it influences the fate and transport of many pollutants. Despite the importance of DOM, understanding of how environmental and anthropogenic factors influence its composition and characteristics is limited. This study focuses on DOM exported as stormwater from suburban and urban sources. Runoff was collected before entering surface waters and DOM was characterized using specific ultraviolet absorbance at 280 nm (a proxy for aromaticity), molecular weight, polydispersity and the fraction of DOM removed from solution via hydrophobic and H-bonding mechanisms. General linear models (GLMs) incorporating land cover, precipitation, solar radiation and selected aqueous chemical measurements explained variations in DOM properties. Results show (1) molecular characteristics of DOM differ as a function of land cover, (2) DOM produced by forested land is significantly different from other landscapes, particularly urban and suburban areas, and (3) DOM from land cover that contains paved surfaces and sewers is more hydrophobic than from other types of land cover. GLMs incorporating environmental factors and land cover accounted for up to 86% of the variability observed in DOM characteristics. Significant variables (p < 0.05) included solar radiation, water temperature and water conductivity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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