Lognormality of Point and Non-Point Source Pollutant Concentrations

by Eugene D. Driscoll, Woodward Clyde Consultants, Oakland, NJ, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Urban Runoff Quality: Impact and Quality Enhancement Technology


This paper presents a series of probability plots of water quality data from a variety of discharge sources. It is intended to provide a visual display of the appropriateness of characterizing the variable pollutant concentrations by a log normal distribution. Representative examples of observed data that have been analyzed and plotted to test whether they can be treated as lognormally distributed random variables, are presented for data sets from the following applications: highway stormwater runoff; combined sewer overflows; urban runoff; point source discharges from POTW's; and agricultural runoff. Such examination suggests that a lognormal distribution either actually defines the underlying population of pollutant concentrations, or is at the least a satisfactory approximation for most environmental analyses.

Subject Headings: Water discharge | Water pollution | Pollutants | Municipal water | Water quality | Point source pollution | Drainage systems | Probability

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