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Frontiers of Earth Science

Front Earth Sci    2012, Vol. 6 Issue (4) : 433-444     DOI: 10.1007/s11707-012-0301-7
Removal mechanisms of heavy metal pollution from urban runoff in wetlands
Zhiming ZHANG, Baoshan CUI(), Xiaoyun FAN
School of Environment, Beijing Normal University; State Key Joint Laboratory of Environmental Simulation and Pollution Control, Beijing 100875, China
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Solid particles, particularly urban surface dust in urban environments contain large quantities of pollutants. It is considered that urban surface dust is a major pollution source of urban stormwater runoff. The stormwater runoff washes away urban surface dust and dissolves pollutants adsorbed onto the dust and finally discharges into receiving water bodies. The quality of receiving water bodies can be deteriorated by the dust and pollutants in it. Polluted waters can be purified by wetlands with various physical, chemical, and biologic processes. These processes have been employed to treat pollutants in urban stormwater runoff for many years because purification of treatment wetlands is a natural process and a low-cost method. In this paper, we reviewed the processes involved during pollutants transport in urban environments. Particularly, when the urban stormwater runoff enters into wetlands, their removal mechanisms involving various physical, chemical and biologic processes should been understood. Wetlands can remove heavy metals by absorbing and binding them and make them form a part of sediment. However, heavy metals can be released into water when the conditions changed. This information is important for the use of wetlands for removing of pollutants and reusing stormwater.

Keywords wetlands      heavy metal      stormwater runoff      removal mechanisms     
Corresponding Authors: CUI Baoshan,,   
Issue Date: 05 December 2012
 Cite this article:   
Baoshan CUI,Xiaoyun FAN,Zhiming ZHANG. Removal mechanisms of heavy metal pollution from urban runoff in wetlands[J]. Front Earth Sci, 2012, 6(4): 433-444.
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Baoshan CUI
Xiaoyun FAN
Zhiming ZHANG
Fig.1  Flow diagram illustrating the processes involved during pollutants transport in urban environments
CityMean concentrations of heavy metals/(mg·kg-1)
Background values in soil of China0.122.661.026.926.0100.0
Tab.1  Mean concentrations of heavy metals in urban surface dust
CityWastewater typeHeavy metals/(μg·L-1)
Nantesa)Raw runoff1.045.058.0356.0NdNd
Parisb)(median)Roof runoff1.337.0493.03422.0NdNd
Yard runoff0.823.0107.0563.0NdNd
Street runoff0.661.0133.0550.0NdNd
Isfahanc)Urban runoffNdNd278.0342.0NdNd
Genoad)Road runoffNd19.413.281.1NdNd
Roof runoffNd10.05.1446.7NdNd
Cremonae)Road runoff1)Nd1397.034.0222.01.57.4
Road runoff2)Nd469.011.0156.0NdNd
Road runoff3)Nd826.018.8260.07.0Nd
Road runoff4)Nd1683.719.8528.38.510.1
Macauf)Road runoff5)Nd13.410.043.0NdNd
Road runoff6)Nd33.381.0288.0NdNd
Guangzhoug)Road runoff26.50.1100.61.952.726.5
Road runoff11.
Road runoff0.
Shanghaih)Roof runoff7)
Roof runoff8)
Roof runoff9)
Shanghaii)Road runoff4.
Nanjingj)Road runoff0.
Tab.2  Heavy metals mean values of EMCs in runoff water
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