" BES Project Abstracts 2006
Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2006 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

Chemical and Biological Impacts of Roadway Derived Contaminants Entering Stormwater Retention Systems
Lev, Steven
Co-Authors: Casey, R., Landa, E. R.*, Lev, S. M. and Snodgrass, J. Urban Environmental Biogeochemistry Laboratory, Towson University, Towson, MD *U.S. Geological Survey, Water Resources Division- National Research Program, Reston, VA
Abstract: Roadway dust has the potential to negatively impact receiving systems due to elevated trace metal levels. Vehicular wear is the primary source of the metal bearing particles in the dust that continuously collects on roadway surfaces. During storm events these particles are transported to stormwater retention systems which become focusing environments for their deposition. Retention ponds attract and are utilized by a wide range of wildlife species, therefore deposition of metal-bearing vehicular wear particles may result in significant exposures of biota to elevated levels of metals like Zn and Cu. Additionally, accumulation of metals by biota inhabiting ponds and soils in and around stormwater collection areas may result in trophic transfer out of these systems as semi-aquatic wildlife feed on the organisms that accumulate roadway derived contaminants. At this point, neither the magnitude nor the effects of such exposures are clearly known. Current research in the Urban Environmental Biogeochemistry Laboratory at Towson University is investigating the fate and effects of roadway dust at multiple scales within the Red Run watershed. We have evaluated inputs and storage of Cu and Zn in one specific stormwater retention pond and are currently evaluating the impact of stormwater ponds on the watershed-level retention of Cu and Zn. Initial results suggest, the storage of these metals in stormwater retention ponds may actually provide conditions that lead to increased bio-availability and loss to surface water systems.