Heavy metals, Runoff, Storm water retention basins


The movement and fate of heavy metal inputs (Cd, Zn, Mn, Cu, Al, Fe, Pb, Ni and Cr) from highway runoff were investigated in a three-year study on 1.3 hectare retention facility near the Maitland Interchange on Interstate 4, north of Orlando, Florida. Physical characteristics of the retention pond and surrounding watershed were defined and field instrumentation was installed. Stormwater samples were collected over a one-year period, representing a wide range of intensities and antecedent dry periods. Stormwater characteristics were compared with average retention pond water quality to determine removal efficiencies for heavy metals within the pond. A total of 138 core samples were collected in the pond over a three-year period to investigate the horizontal and vertical migrations of heavy metals within the pond. Sediment core samples were also carried through a series of sequential extraction procedures to examine the type of chemical associations and stability of each metal in the sediments. An apparatus was built which allowed sediments to be incubated under various conditions of redox potential and pH to investigate the effects of changes in sediment conditions on the stability of metal-sediment associations. Five groundwater monitoring wells were also installed to monitor metal movement and accumulations under stormwater management systems. Heavy metal inputs from highway runoff were found to be predominantly particulate in nature, with dissolved fractions for most metals of only 25 percent. Upon entering the retention pond, most metal species settled into the sediments within 60-90 m of the inlet. Removal efficiencies for metals after entering the pond averaged 70-90 percent for particulate species and about 50 percent for dissolved species. Sediment concentrations of heavy metals were highest near the surface, with rapidly decreasing concentrations with increasing depth. Metal-sediment associations appear to be very strong for most metals, with the vast majority of metal inputs into the pond over the eight-year life still remaining in the top 10 cm. Concentrations of all heavy metals measured were higher in groundwaters beneath the pond that in the pond water; but for most metals, the increases only extended to depths of 1-3 m beneath the pond. In general, metal concentrations beneath swale areas were significantly higher than concentrations beneath the retention pond. Due to slow groundwater movement in the area, the effects of increased metal concentrations are very localized. Evidence was presented to suggest that mobilization of metals into groundwaters could substantially increase with time if maintenance procedures are not conducted.


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Graduation Date





Yousef, Yousef A.


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Engineering


Civil Engineering and Environmental Sciences

Degree Program

Environmental Engineering






Public Domain

Length of Campus-only Access


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Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)



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