Understanding the uncertainty associated with particle-bound pollutant build-up and wash-off: A critical review

Wijesiri, Buddhi, Egodawatta, Prasanna, McGree, James, & Goonetilleke, Ashantha (2016) Understanding the uncertainty associated with particle-bound pollutant build-up and wash-off: A critical review. Water Research, 101, pp. 582-596.

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Accurate prediction of stormwater quality is essential for developing effective pollution mitigation strategies. The use of models incorporating simplified mathematical replications of pollutant processes is the common practice for determining stormwater quality. However, an inherent process uncertainty arises due to the intrinsic variability associated with pollutant processes, which has neither been comprehensively understood, nor well accounted for in uncertainty assessment of stormwater quality modelling. This review provides the context for defining and quantifying the uncertainty associated with pollutant build-up and wash-off on urban impervious surfaces based on the hypothesis that particle size is predominant in influencing process variability. Critical analysis of published research literature brings scientific evidence together in order to establish the fact that particle size changes with time, and different sized particles exhibit distinct behaviour during build-up and wash-off, resulting in process variability. Analysis of the different adsorption behaviour of particles confirmed that the variations in pollutant load and composition are influenced by particle size. Particle behaviour and variations in pollutant load and composition are related due to the strong affinity of pollutants such as heavy metals and hydrocarbons for specific particle size ranges. As such, the temporal variation in particle size is identified as the key to establishing a basis for assessing build-up and wash-off process uncertainty. Therefore, accounting for pollutant build-up and wash-off process variability, which is influenced by particle size, would facilitate the assessment of the uncertainty associated with modelling outcomes. Furthermore, the review identified fundamental knowledge gaps where further research is needed in relation to: (1) the aggregation of particles suspended in the atmosphere during build-up; (2) particle re-suspension during wash-off; (3) pollutant re-adsorption by different particle size fractions; and (4) development of evidence-based techniques for assessing uncertainty; and (5) methods for translating the knowledge acquired from the investigation of process mechanisms at small scale into catchment scale for stormwater quality modelling.

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ID Code: 96498
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Process uncertainty, Particle size, Pollutant build-up, Pollutant wash-off, Stormwater quality, Stormwater pollutant processes
DOI: 10.1016/j.watres.2016.06.013
ISSN: 0043-1354
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 Elsevier Ltd.
Deposited On: 04 Jul 2016 00:30
Last Modified: 08 Jul 2016 00:05

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