Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Environmental Engineers Demonstrate Effective Method For Reducing Pollution From Highway Runoff

Date:
October 4, 1997
Source:
University Of Cincinnati
Summary:
Researchers in the University of Cincinnati College of Engineering have shown that a modified filtration system along interstate highways can prevent heavy metals from polluting nearby water supplies.

Cincinnati -- Researchers in the University of Cincinnati College of Engineering have shown that a modified filtration system along interstate highways can prevent heavy metals from polluting nearby water supplies.

The system, known as a partial exfiltration trench (PET), was designed and built by research assistant professor John Sansalone as part of his doctoral research in the department of civil and environmental engineering at UC. The PET replaces the normal sand used in highway storm drainage systems with an iron oxide coated sand. That makes the sand signficantly more effective at trapping heavy metals such as cadmium, copper, lead and zinc.

"Polluted water flows in, and clean water flows out," explained Steven Buchberger, associate professor of environmental engineering and Sansalone's thesis adviser.

Sansalone presented data from a year-long field test during the recent World Congress of the International Association for Hydraulic Research (IAHR) in San Francisco. A prototype PET system was installed along a stretch of Interstate 75 near downtown Cincinnati. It is the second busiest stretch of interstate highway in the state of Ohio.

The effectiveness of the PET system varied for each specific metal, but the overall trapping efficiencies ranged from 82 to 97 percent. The PET even holds up well during heavy rainstorms. The system can handle up to one inch of rain per hour. That's when Sansalone discovered a side benefit to his novel system.

"The PET not only works as a water quality device, but it can act like a water quantity control device to reduce surface flooding," said Sansalone. That discovery was completely unexpected in the Cincinnati area where clay soils are common.

Sansalone will continue his research by looking at ways to make the system more economical and efficient. It took ten tons of coated sand to treat 20 meters of highway during the field test, so Sansalone must find a consistent and simple method for producing huge quantities of coated sand.

"When we made the prototype, we made more coated sand than has ever been artifically produced on Earth. It was a real undertaking," said Sansalone.

He will also work on modifying the coating itself to increase its trapping efficiency and lifetime. The goal is to have a system which can last as long as the typical highway pavement about 15 years. Lab tests indicated Sansalone's coating could last approximately 40 years. The field tests indicated a much shorter life expectancy, but one very close to the final project goal.

"Conditions in the field are always more severe than you can simulate in the lab," said Sansalone. "Based on the results we've seen so far, a 10 to 15 year life is reasonable."

Even more important than lifespan is the ability to clean or recharge the PET system easily. In the next phase of the project, Sansalone will try to demonstrate that the trapped metals can be removed by a simple back-washing. That's important, because if you can't remove the toxic pollutants for disposal, you wind up with tons and tons of toxic waste.

Lab-scale experiments indicate the back-washing process is feasible. However, field tests are required to test the procedures on a large-scale operation.

Sansalone's research is funded by the Ohio Department of Transportation and the National Science Foundation. His presentation in San Francisco was recognized by the IAHR's John F. Kennedy Award for Hydraulic Research. The award is named for an engineering researcher who specialized in hydraulics.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Cincinnati. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Cincinnati. "Environmental Engineers Demonstrate Effective Method For Reducing Pollution From Highway Runoff." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 October 1997. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/10/971004092921.htm>.
University Of Cincinnati. (1997, October 4). Environmental Engineers Demonstrate Effective Method For Reducing Pollution From Highway Runoff. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/10/971004092921.htm
University Of Cincinnati. "Environmental Engineers Demonstrate Effective Method For Reducing Pollution From Highway Runoff." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/10/971004092921.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Newsy (July 29, 2014) A report from the White House warns not curbing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the U.S. billions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Climate Change Could Cost Billions According To White House

Climate Change Could Cost Billions According To White House

Newsy (July 29, 2014) A report from the White House warns not curbing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the U.S. billions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jane Goodall Warns Great Apes Face Extinction

Jane Goodall Warns Great Apes Face Extinction

AFP (July 29, 2014) The world's great apes face extinction within decades, renowned chimpanzee expert Jane Goodall warned Tuesday in a call to arms to ensure man's closest relatives are not wiped out. Duration: 00:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rat Infestation at Paris' Tuileries Garden

Rat Infestation at Paris' Tuileries Garden

AFP (July 29, 2014) An infestation of rats is causing concern among tourists at Paris' most famous park -- the Tuileries garden next to the Louvre Museum. Duration: 00:54 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins