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Assessment of metal retention in newly constructed highway embankments

Werkenthin, Moritz, Kluge, Björn, Wessolek, Gerd
Environmental science and pollution research international 2016 v.23 no.23 pp. 23619-23629
groundwater, groundwater recharge, infiltration rate, laws and regulations, lysimeters, pollutants, runoff, soil solution, trafficability
Newly constructed embankments should provide both a specific bearing capacity to enable trafficability in emergency cases and a sufficient pollutant retention capacity to protect the groundwater. A number of lysimeters were installed along the A115 highway to determine total and dissolved metal concentrations in road runoff and in the soil solution of newly constructed embankments. Dissolved concentrations in soil solution of the embankments did not exceed the trigger values of the German legislation. Depending on the metal, total concentrations in soil solution were more than twice as high as dissolved concentrations. The high infiltration rates lead to increased groundwater recharge beneath the embankments (up to 4100 mm a⁻¹). Although metal concentrations were not problematic from the legislators’ point of view, the elevated infiltration rates beside the road facilitated the transfer of high metal loads into deeper soil layers and potentially into the groundwater as well.