Investigation of urban water quality using artificial rainfall
As the concept of sustainable communities is gaining increasing recognition around the world it is of critical importance to investigate the water quality of urban environments. The contamination of waterways in urban communities seriously affects the utility of water for different purposes and degrades the aesthetic value of natural watercourses. Research investigations in the past have generally focused on suspended solids and nutrients, which are relatively easy to monitor. Unfortunately the build-up and wash-off of micro pollutants such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and heavy metals (HM) have received limited research interest in urban water quality research even though these can cause significant health and environmental impacts even at low concentrations. This paper describes how artificial rainfall, using a specially designed highly portable rainfall simulator was employed in order to generate water quality data from urban environments. This approach was adopted in order to investigate the wash-off of pollutants from paved surfaces and to overcome constraints due to the highly unreliable rainfall in South-East Queensland Australia. The rainfall simulator was able to demonstrate its ability to satisfactory simulate natural rainfall in the area. The results obtained confirmed that the rainfall simulator is a reliable tool for urban water quality research and can be used to simulate pollutant wash-off.
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