Heavy metals have toxic effects on flora and fauna in the aquatic environments and are of great concern in stormwater. Heavy metal runoff was studied in 37 stormwater ponds in Denmark with varying heavy metal load, catchment type and pond design. The studied metals were Cu, Cr, Cd, Pb, Ni and Zn. The concentrations varied considerably depending on the catchment type, with the highest concentrations coming from industrial areas and the lowest from uncultivated and rural areas. Ponds can effectively remove heavy metals in particulate forms through sedimentation processes, but the dissolved forms are more difficult to retain. The removal efficiency in the ponds varied considerably, with the highest retention of Pb, Ni and Zn due to higher particulate fraction. The retention increased with increased pond volume-to-reduced catchment area ratio. In addition, the pond age affected the efficiency; whereas ponds less than 1-2 years efficiently removed all metals, 30-40-year-old ponds only removed Pb, Ni and Zn, but steeply decreasing over the years. Physical parameters such as pond size, age and sedimentation patterns were found to play a more significant role in the removal compared with chemical parameters such as pH, oxygen and organic matter. Input of metals to the ponds was reflected in the sediment content, but not significantly for all heavy metals probably due to low or varying retention caused by mineralization and re-suspension. The heavy metal concentration in the outlets was reduced to non-toxic levels, except for Cu and Cr at a few study sites.
Environmental Technology, 2015, Vol 36, Issue 8, p. 959-969
ponds; sedimentation; urban runoff; water quality; xenobiotics