Diffuse pollution of storm water runoff from an urban catchment

ABSTRACT The aim of this study was to evaluate the first wash load of an urban catchment located in the city of Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil, by quantifying pollution loads contained in surface run-offs from nine rainfall events, monitored throughout the year 2013. The variables analyzed were: total solids, total suspended solids, chemical oxygen demand, total phosphorus and oil and grease content. We conducted the evaluation of precipitation/runoff events through progressive sampling of runoff, monitored by autosampler (ISCO 6712), and located at the outlet of the drainage basin. The first 24 minutes of runoff were analyzed, with samples collected every minute throughout the event. The variation of the pollutants concentration associated with the temporal run-offs variation during precipitation was analyzed to verify the occurrence of the first flush phenomenon. The monitored period was characterized by having a low number of drought days between events. The occurrence of the first flush was observed in five of the monitored events. Thus, it became clear that for the studied basin, the concept of first flush could be applied in rainwater management strategies for the implementation of best management practices, which have been widely disseminated regarding urban drainage.