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Characteristics of Highway Stormwater Runoff in Los Angeles: Metals and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons

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Stormwater runoff from three highway sites in Los Angeles, California, was monitored, during the 2000 to 2003 wet seasons. Correlations among heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and storm characteristics were performed using datasets collected for 62 storm events. Statistical correlation analyses of the event mean concentrations (EMCs) and mass first-flush ratios (MFFs) with storm characteristics were conducted to determine if the first flush is related to site or storm characteristics. This study agreed with other highway runoff characterization studies, in that strong correlations were observed among the heavy metals and between heavy metals and total PAHs, and total suspended solids were well correlated with most heavy metals. Only antecedent dry days among storm characteristics were reasonably well-correlated with the EMCs of heavy metals and total PAHs, and dissolved and total metals exhibited similar MFFs, with approximately 30 to 35% of the mass being discharged in the first 20% of the runoff volume.

Keywords: correlation; heavy metals; highways; mass first flush; polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; storm characteristics; stormwater

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2009

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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