Progressive changes in water and sediment quality in a wetland system for control of highway runoff

H. Pontier, John Williams, Eric May

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Innovative wetland based systems were designed and installed on the Newbury Bypass, Berkshire, England to provide flow balancing and pollution control for road runoff. The systems were monitored over 18 months to evaluate performance, pollutant removal processes and offer improved design and operation codes for this new application of wetlands. Water quality, sediment accumulation rates, and metal concentrations in size-fractionated, settling solids and deposited sediments were determined in parts of the system to provide information on spatial and temporal variability. The results presented here show that over the long term, there were progressive changes in parts of the system for BOD and COD and for metal concentrations in the sediment fractions, which occurred with linear (or semi loglinear) rates, despite variability in flow rates, retention times and in pollutant loading to the system. Future work will continue monitoring to increase the data set, examine possible processes contributing to the regression constants, and test the potential use of the regressions in system modelling. Attempts at modelling road runoff treatment using wetlands must allow for progressions, since the systems can only be effective if they retain removed metals in the sediment sink.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-224
Number of pages10
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2004


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