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Research Reports

Transport Deposition and Control of Heavy Metals in Highway Runoff


Mass balances conducted on soils adjacent to highways indicated low mobility of metals deposited on well-vegetated surfaces. Grass drainage channels were shown to effectively capture and retain metals (e.g. a 60 m channel removed 80 percent of the original Pb concentration). Mud or paved channels, however, demonstrated little or no ability to remove metals from runoff. Metal release studies suggested that acid precipitation could release metals bound in the soil, especially where low buffering capacity exists.

  • Date Published: January, 1980
  • Publication Number: WA-RD 39.10
  • Last Modified: August 4, 2007
  • Authors: Tzn-Siang Wang, Dimitris E. Spyridakis, Brian W. Mar, Richard R. Horner.
  • Originator: University of Washington. Environmental Engineering and Science Program.
  • # of Pages: 44 p., 776 KB (PDF)
  • Subject: Contaminants, Deposition, Ditches, Drainage, Filtration, Grasses, Heavy metals, Highways, Motor vehicles, Pollutants, Pollution control, Road materials, Runoff, Vegetation, Water quality.
  • Keywords: Washington State, heavy metals, runoff, water pollutants, highways, transport, deposition, overland flow.
  • Related Publications: Water Quality Impacts Associated with Leachates from Highway Woodwastes Embankments, (WA-RD 39.1).
    Effects of Velocity and Nutrient Alterations on Stream Primary Producers and Associated Organisms, (WA-RD 39.2).
    Highway Runoff Monitoring: The Initial Year, (WA-RD 39.3).
    Composite Sampling of Highway Runoff: Year 2, (WA-RD 39.4).
    Criteria and Requirements for Statewide Highway Runoff Monitoring Sites, (WA-RD 39.5).
    Characterization of Highway Runoff in Washington State, (WA-RD 39.6).
    Year 3 - Runoff Water Quality, August 1979 - August 1980, (WA-RD 39.7).
    Views of Risk and Highway Transportation of Hazardous Materials - A Case Study in Gasoline, (WA-RD 39.8).
    A Survey of Trace Organics in Highway Runoff in Seattle, Washington, (WA-RD 39.9).
    Effects of Seattle Area Highway Stormwater Runoff on Aquatic Biota, (WA-RD 39.11).
    Highway Runoff in Washington State: Model Validation and Statistical Analysis, (WA-RD 39.12).
    Assessment of Pollutant Loadings and Concentrations in Highway Stormwater, (WA-RD 39.12.1). 
    Year 4, Runoff Water Quality, August 1980-August 1981, (WA-RD 39.13).
    Guide for Water Quality Impact Assessment of Highway Operations and Maintenance, (WA-RD 39.14).
    Impacts of Channel Reconstruction in the Pilchuck River, (WA-RD 39.15).
    Summary -- Highway Runoff Water Quality Study, 1977-1982, (WA-RD 39.16).

This abstract was last modified April 29, 2008