Urban stormwater presents pollution challenge

SFEI (San Francisco Estuary Institute) launched the monitoring project after a chemical analysis of samples collected in 2016 revealed untreated stormwater runoff from populated areas as an overlooked source of chemicals that water-monitoring agencies have only recently begun to track.

In the US, the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972 mandated federal, state, and local agencies to prevent chemicals from polluting the nation’s streams, rivers, lakes, and coastline. Sewers and factories posed the biggest problem, but as that pollution got cleaned up, attention turned to stormwater runoff, which in many ways is more challenging to address.

"Initially, environmental scientists studying the chemical pollution spawned by urban runoff focused their concern mostly on nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, and metals. But studies over the past 5 years or so have begun picking up a wide variety of organic chemicals. The sheer diversity of compounds that this flow carries is dizzying, and researchers are only beginning to appreciate the scope of the problem." says Allen P. Davis, a civil and environmental engineer at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Read more HERE at Chemical & Engineering news!