Elimination and accumulation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in urban stormwater wet detention ponds

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The concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in water and sediments of seven wet detention ponds receiving urban stormwater were investigated. The ponds comprised traditional wet detention ponds with a permanent wet volume and a storage volume as well as ponds that were expanded with sand filters and other means to improve the removal of micropollutants. The concentrations of ∑PAH in the sediments varied between 6 ± 5 and 2,222 ± 603 ng g−1 dry weight (mean ± standard deviation), and were highest in the ponds with lower pond volume per catchment area and did not clearly reflect different activities in the catchments. In general, the concentrations of PAHs in the sediments decreased from inlet to outlet, especially in the systems with good conditions for sedimentation such as systems with flow perpendicular sand dikes and extensive submerged vegetation. High molecular weight PAHs were predominant in the sediments indicating the pyrogenic origin of the PAHs. There was no correlation between PAH species concentrations in water or sediments and their hydrophobicity (log Kow). PAH concentrations in water fluctuated in response to intensity and frequency of rain events, whereas concentrations in the sediments integrated the pollutant load over time. Pond systems expanded with sand filters and other technologies to enhance removal of micropollutants consistently had concentrations of PAHs in the effluents below the detection level.

Keywords: micropollutant, Phragmites, priority pollutant, sand filter, sediment

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