Heavy metals from heavy land use? Spatio-temporal patterns of urban runoff metal loads

Maija Taka*, Nora Sillanpää, Tero Niemi, Lassi Warsta, Teemu Kokkonen, Heikki Setälä

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
57 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Urban hydrology is characterized by increased runoff and various pollutant sources. We studied the spatio-temporal patterns of stormwater metal (Al, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Cu, Zn, and Pb) concentrations and loads in five urbanized and one rural catchment in Southern Finland. The two-year continuous monitoring revealed a non-linear seasonal relationship between catchment urban intensity and metal export. For runoff, seasonal variation decreased with increasing imperviousness. The most urbanized catchments experienced greatest temporal variation in metal concentrations: the annual Cu and Zn loads in most of the studied urbanized catchments were up to 86 times higher compared to the rural site, whereas Fe loads in the urbanized catchments were only circa 29% of the rural load. Total metal levels were highest in the winter, whereas the winter peak of dissolved metal concentrations was less pronounced. The collection of catchment characteristics explained well the total metal concentrations, whereas for the dissolved concentrations the explanatory power was weaker. Our catchment-scale analysis revealed a mosaic of mainly diffuse pollutant sources and calls for catchment-scale management designs. As urban metal export occurred across seasons, solutions that operate also in cold conditions are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number152855
Number of pages11
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume817
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Metal
  • Pollutant export
  • Seasonality
  • Stormwater
  • Urban water

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