Calibrated models of deicing agent solids, pavement texture, and specific conductivity of highway runoff

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Journal or Book Title

Journal of Environmental Engineering


Field data and existing theory suggest that pavement texture governs the seasonal persistence of deicing agent solids and the storm scale variability of the specific conductivity of highway runoff. We measured precipitation, runoff, and specific conductivity for 50 storms over four deicing seasons at a highway drainage system in southeastern Massachusetts. An average pavement texture of 2.44mm was measured and 5.17×105kg of calcium magnesium acetate, salt, and premix applications was reported as well. Catchments and a depression storage layer model the highway drainage system, which routes hyetographs and slowly dissolving deicing agent solids to storm scale hydrographs and specific conductivity pollutographs. We equate the average pavement texture to the depression storage layer depth, which receives applied deicing agent solids, controls their dissolution during a storm, and governs their seasonal scale persistence. The observed average pavement texture, precipitation, and deicing agent applications yield first flush (storm scale) specific conductivity values in the depression storage layer that range from a winter maximum of 15mS/cm to summer values two orders of magnitude lower. The winter maximum, or seasonal scale first flush of specific conductivity, would be lower for rougher pavement due to slower dissolution. The rougher pavement would also induce stronger persistence of deicing agent solids throughout the year, so that appreciable storm scale first flushes would occur in the summer.