Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Road deicing salt use in the United States has increased extensively over the last 60 years with urbanization and a need to keep roads safe during winter months. This increase has caused an overall increase in the base concentration of Cl- in streams near roads that receive deicing salts. Many of these streams are in the Northeast United States where extensive industrialization has led to the pollution of soils, sediments, and surface waters by heavy metals. This study addresses the effect that chloride concentration has on fluvial transport and partitioning of heavy metals between the dissolved and suspended phases in an urban watershed. The study area consists of the Patroon Creek Watershed, which drains an area of 37 km2 within the City of Albany, and Town of Colonie, NY. Patroon Creek flows 11 km from the Albany Pine Bush through progressively more urbanized areas into the Hudson River. Over a period of one and a half years, monthly samples were taken for both major ion and total heavy metal analysis, and an autosampler at the USGS stream gage was used to sample storm events. Chloride has been found to have no significant effect on total heavy metal concentrations in the watershed; however total heavy metal concentrations and suspended particulate matter shows a strong positive correlation. Increasing chloride concentration does show some effect on the partitioning of chloride complex-forming heavy metals toward the dissolved phase. This implies that heavy metals are flowing into the stream adsorbed to suspended particulates. Once in the stream they react with elevated levels of chloride causing them to be desorbed from particulate surfaces into the dissolved phase where they form chloride complexes and may become more bioavailable to aquatic organisms.
Begeal, Charles, "The Effect of Chloride Ion on Heavy Metal Partitioning and Transport in an Urban Watershed: Patroon Creek, Albany, NY" (2008). Geology Theses and Dissertations. 9.