Human health risk assessment of heavy metals in urban stormwater

Ma, Yukun, Egodawatta, Prasanna, McGree, James, Liu, An, & Goonetilleke, Ashantha (2016) Human health risk assessment of heavy metals in urban stormwater. Science of the Total Environment, 557-558, pp. 764-772.

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Toxic chemical pollutants such as heavy metals (HMs) are commonly present in urban stormwater. These pollutants can pose a significant risk to human health and hence a significant barrier for urban stormwater reuse. The primary aim of this study was to develop an approach for quantitatively assessing the risk to human health due to the presence of HMs in stormwater. This approach will lead to informed decision making in relation to risk management of urban stormwater reuse, enabling efficient implementation of appropriate treatment strategies. In this study, risks to human health from heavy metals were assessed as hazard index (HI) and quantified as a function of traffic and land use related parameters. Traffic and land use are the primary factors influencing heavy metal loads in the urban environment. The risks posed by heavy metals associated with total solids and fine solids (<150µm) were considered to represent the maximum and minimum risk levels, respectively. The study outcomes confirmed that Cr, Mn and Pb pose the highest risks, although these elements are generally present in low concentrations. The study also found that even though the presence of a single heavy metal does not pose a significant risk, the presence of multiple heavy metals could be detrimental to human health. These findings suggest that stormwater guidelines should consider the combined risk from multiple heavy metals rather than the threshold concentration of an individual species. Furthermore, it was found that risk to human health from heavy metals in stormwater is significantly influenced by traffic volume and the risk associated with stormwater from industrial areas is generally higher than that from commercial and residential areas.

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ID Code: 95138
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: hazard index, heavy metals, risk assessment, stormwater quality, stormwater pollutant processes
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.03.067
ISSN: 0048-9697
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > CIVIL ENGINEERING (090500) > Water Quality Engineering (090508)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Civil Engineering & Built Environment
Current > Schools > School of Earth, Environmental & Biological Sciences
Current > Schools > School of Mathematical Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Facilities: Central Analytical Research Facility
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 Elsevier
Copyright Statement: Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution; Non-Commercial; No-Derivatives 4.0 International. DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.03.067
Deposited On: 26 Apr 2016 03:35
Last Modified: 01 May 2016 04:56

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