Heavy metals, PAHs and toxicity in stormwater wet detention ponds

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Concentrations of 6 different heavy metals and total polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were determined in stormwater runoff and in the pond water of two Danish wet detention ponds. The pond water samples were analyzed for toxic effects, using the algae Selenastrum capricornutum as a test organism. Stormwater and pond water from a catchment with light industry showed high levels of heavy metals, especially zinc and copper. The pond water showed high toxic effects and copper were found to be the main toxicant. Additionally, a large part of the copper was suspected to be complex bound, reducing the potential toxicity of the metal. Another catchment (residential) produced stormwater and pond water with moderate concentration of heavy metals. The pond water occasionally showed toxic effects but no correlation between heavy metals and toxicity was identified. PAHs concentrations were for both catchments low and no correlations between PAH concentrations in the pond and toxicity were found.

Keywords: detention ponds, heavy metals, stormwater, toxicity

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