Fate of hydrocarbon pollutants in source and non-source control sustainable drainage systems

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Sustainable drainage (SuDs) is an established method for managing runoff from developments, and source control is part of accepted design philosophy. However, there are limited studies into the contribution source control makes to pollutant removal, especially for roads. This study examines organic pollutants, total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), in paired source and non-source control full-scale SuDs systems. Sites were selected to cover local roads, trunk roads and housing developments, with a range of SuDs, including porous asphalt, swales, detention basins and ponds. Soil and water samples were taken bi-monthly over 12 months to assess pollutant loads. Results show first flush patterns in storm events for solids, but not for TPH. The patterns of removal for specific PAHs were also different, reflecting varying physico-chemical properties. The potential of trunk roads for pollution was illustrated by peak runoff for TPH of > 17,000 μg/l. Overall there was no significant difference between pollutant loads from source and non-source control systems, but the dynamic nature of runoff means that longer-term data are required. The outcomes of this project will increase understanding of organic pollutants behaviour in SuDs. This will provide design guidance about the most appropriate systems for treating these pollutants.

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