Toxicology and Chemistry of Metals in Urban Runoff

by Patrick H. Davies, Colorado Div of Wildlife, Fort, Collins, CO, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

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


Water quality characteristics such as inorganic and organic ligands, pH, and water hardness will reduce the toxicity of metals through different chemical or physiological mechanisms. Increases in water temperature tends to increase the toxic response of organisms. The roles of alkalinity, i. e. the bicarbonate-carbonate system, and water hardness in ameliorating acute and chronic toxicities of metals are discussed. Factors such as organism sensitivity and life stage, ability to acclimate, and length of exposure also affect the toxicological responses of organisms to metals. Embryonically exposed fish, i. e. during the egg stage of development, will acclimate to some metals and become less sensitive to the effects of metals than fish not embryonically exposed. Factors regulating the bioavailability of different metal forms, chemical equilibria, and chemical kinetics are discussed at length regarding the roles they play in affecting the toxicity of metals. A discussion is given on different analytical methodologies and their appropriateness in measuring metal concentrations to assess potentially toxic impacts on aquatic life in natural waters.

Subject Headings: Water quality | Municipal water | Toxicity | Metals (chemical) | Urban areas | Runoff | Water chemistry | Lifeline systems

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