Urban Runoff Toxicity

by Edwin Herricks,

Abstract: Toxicity is controlled by the magnitude/concentration of the contaminant produced in an exposure, the duration of the exposure, and the frequency with which exposures are repeated. When considering urban runoff toxicity, it is necessary to carefully consider magnitude, duration, and frequency in any toxicity analysis. Over the past several years, an analysis of toxicity associated with runoff events has produced an improved understanding of urban runoff toxicity. First, to measure this toxicity it is necessary to apply a new paradigm, the time-scale toxicity paradigm. This paradigm proposes a time-scale of response approach to test system selection rather than the organism-based system commonly in use. Second, the time-scale toxicity testing approach has required adjustment of test metrics the account for variation in the magnitude and duration of exposure as well as variability in frequency. Finally, new analysis procedures are required the effectively assess event toxicity and provide a foundation for comparison of runoff events. The time-scale toxicity paradigm is reviewed, and data from storm events is provided to illustrate paradigm utility in assessing the toxicity of urban runoff and the related impact of urban runoff on receiving systems.

Subject Headings: Toxicity | Runoff | Urban areas | Municipal water | Watersheds | Pollutants | Metric systems | Foundations

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