Main content area

Perfluoroalkyl acids in urban stormwater runoff: Influence of land use

Xiao, Feng, Simcik, Matt F., Gulliver, John S.
Water research 2012 v.46 no.20 pp. 6601-6608
acids, adsorption, cities, land use, monitoring, particulates, persistent organic pollutants, rain, residential areas, statistical analysis, stormwater, watersheds
Perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) are persistent organic pollutants in the environment and have been reported to have nonpoint sources. In this study, six PFAAs with different chain lengths were monitored in stormwater runoff from seven storm events (2009–2011) at various outfall locations corresponding to different watershed land uses. We found PFAA(s) in 100% of stormwater runoff samples. Monitoring results and statistical analysis show that PFAAs in stormwater runoff from residential areas mainly came from rainfall. On the other hand, non-atmospheric sources at both industrial and commercial areas contributed PFAAs in stormwater runoff. The mass flux of PFAAs from stormwater runoff in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN) metropolitan area is estimated to be about 7.86 kg/year. In addition, for the first time, we monitored PFAAs on the particles/debris in stormwater runoff and found high-level PFOS on the particulate matter in runoff collected from both industrial and commercial areas; the levels were so high that the finding could not be explained by the solid–water partitioning or adsorption. PFOS on the particulate matter is suspected to have originated from industrial/commercial products, entering the waste stream as PFOS containing particles.