Research of trace metals as markers of entry pathways in combined sewers

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Combined sewers receive high toxic trace metal loads emitted by various sources, such as traffic, industry, urban heating and building materials. During heavy rain events, Combined Sewer Overflows (CSO) can occur and, if so, are discharged directly into the aquatic system and therefore could have an acute impact on receiving waters. In this study, the concentrations of 18 metals have been measured in 89 samples drawn from the three pollutant Entry Pathways in Combined Sewers (EPCS): i) roof runoff, ii) street runoff, and iii) industrial and domestic effluents and also drawn from sewer deposits (SD). The aim of this research is to identify metallic markers for each EPCS; the data matrix was submitted to principal component analysis in order to determine metallic markers for the three EPCS and SD. This study highlights the fact that metallic content variability across samples from different EPCS and SD exceeds the spatio-temporal variability of samples from the same EPCS. In the catchment studied here, the most valuable EPCS and SD markers are lead, sodium, boron, antimony and zinc; these markers could be used in future studies to identify the contributions of each EPCS to CSO metallic loads.

Keywords: combined sewer overflows, heavy metals, metallic markers, principal component analysis, source identification

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