Impact of climate change induced rainfall characteristics on water quality from road runoff: A case study for traffic generated volatile compounds in Gold Coast Australia
Mahbub, P, Impact of climate change induced rainfall characteristics on water quality from road runoff: A case study for traffic generated volatile compounds in Gold Coast Australia, Proceedings of the Practical Responses to Climate Change Conference 2014, 25-27 November 2014, Barton, ACT, pp. 173-179. ISBN 9781922107329 (2014) [Refereed Conference Paper]
Traffic generated volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can be a risk to urban water quality as well as human health due to their carcinogenic nature. The changes in rainfall characteristics due to climate change can alter the wash-off characteristics of these pollutants from urban roads into water bodies. This research has undertaken a case study in Gold Coast, Australia to characterise the impacts of climate change on the wash-off of VOCs. The target VOCs were benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene (commonly referred to as BTEX). Whilst VOC emissions from traffic were widely reported, their fates in stormwater runoff under climate change have not been investigated so far. This study employed Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and Multicriteria Decision tools such as GAIA to understand the VOC wash-off under climate change. It was established that low to moderate and high rain events due to climate change will affect the wash-off of VOCs from urban roads. The extreme rain events were found to exert no impacts on the VOC wash-off. Additionally, the VOCs were found to be mainly attached with the particulate fractions of 75->300 μm where the organic matters acted as the binding materials between the VOCs and the corresponding particulate fractions. Adaptive stormwater quality mitigation measures can be taken by targeting the runoff of the low to moderate and high rain events described in this study. The outcomes of this study could be useful for any mitigation measures which target removal of traffic generated VOCs from urban roads.