Pathways utilized by heavy metal pollutants in urban stormwater runoff

  • J.H. Wren

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The research concerned the assessment of the pathways utilized by heavy metal pollutants in urban stormwater runoff. A separately sewered urban residential catchment of approximately 107 hectares in Chelmsley Wood, north-east Birmingham was the subject of the field investigation.
The catchment area, almost entirely residential, had no immediate industrial heavy metal input, however, industry was situated to the north of the catchment. The perimeter of the catchment was bounded by the M6 motorway on the northern and eastern sides and was believed to contribute to aerial deposition. Metal inputs to the ground surface were assumed to be confined to normal suburban activities, namely, aerial deposition, vehicular activity and anthropological activities.
A programme of field work was undertaken over a 12 month period, from July 1983 to July 1984. Monthly deposition rates were monitored using a network of deposit cannisters and roadside sediment and soil samples were taken. Stormwater samples were obtained for 19 separate events. All samples were analysed for iron, lead, zinc, copper, chromium, nickel and cadmium content. Rainfall was recorded on site with additional meteorological data obtained from local Meteorological Offices.
Use was made of a simple conceptual model designed for the catchment to substantiate hypotheses derived from site investigations and literature, to investigate the pathways utilized for the transportation of heavy metals throughout the catchment.

Date of Award1986
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorT.R.E. Chidley (Supervisor) & Peter Hedges (Supervisor)


  • Pathways
  • heavy metal pollutants
  • urban stormwater runoff

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