Abatement technologies for road surface run-off

Aoife Foley, Sarah O'Reilly, Ger Morgan, JJ Heffron, John O'Halloran, Fabio Bacci

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Heavy metals, primarily zinc, copper, lead, and chromium, and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) are the main hazardous constituents of road runoff. The main sources of these contaminants are vehicle emission, mostly through wear and leakage, although erosion of the road surface and de-icing salts are also recognised pollution sources. The bioavailability of these toxic compounds, and more importantly their potential biomagnification along food chains, could affect aquatic communities persistently exposed to road runoff. Several internationally approved abatement technologies are available for the management of road runoff on new motorway schemes. Recent studies conducted in Cork and Dublin, Ireland demonstrated the efficacy of infiltration trenches as abatement technologies in the removal of both heavy metals and PAHs prior to discharge; the technology was however inefficient in mitigating first flush events. Gully traps with sedimentation chambers, another technology investigated, demonstrated to have a substantially lower removal potential but appeared to be more effective in attenuating surges of contaminants attributed to first flush events. Consequently the employment of combined abatement techniques could efficiently minimise deviations from required effluent concentrations. The studies determined a relatively stationary accumulation of heavy metals and PAHs in sediments close to the point of discharge with a rapid decline in concentration in nearby downstream sediments (<50m). Further, Microtox® Solid Phase testing reported a negligible impact on assemblages exposed to contaminated sediments for all sites investigated. This paper describes pollutant loading from road runoff and mitigation measures from a freshwater deterioration in a water quality perspective. The results and analysis of field samples collected adjacent to a number of roads and motorways in Ireland is also presented. Finally sustainable drainage systems, abatement techniques and technologies available for onsite treatment of runoff are presented to improve and mitigate impacts of vehicular transport on the environment.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2010
EventIrish Transport Research Network (ITRN2010) Conference - University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 31 Aug 2010 → …


ConferenceIrish Transport Research Network (ITRN2010) Conference
Period31/08/2010 → …


Dive into the research topics of 'Abatement technologies for road surface run-off'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this