Risk assessment of Xenobiotics in stormwater discharged to Harrestrup Å, Denmark

Eva Eriksson, Anders Baun, Peter Steen Mikkelsen, Anna Ledin

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Surface waters are highly manipulated in many cities in Europe, and the flow is largely impacted by discharges
of stormwater and combined sewer overflow. Toxicity tests shown adverse effects in some of these recipients due
to the presence of xenobiotic organic carbons (XOCs). Harrestrup Å, situated in the City of Copenhagen, is one of
these recipients, where biotest using algae showed measurable toxicity in eight samples taken in 2003. Twenty-five
different XOCs were quantified in the same samples. The present study aimed at identifying the most relevant
XOCs out of these 25 to be selected for further analysis with respect to potential source control options.
Fourteen XOCs (56%) were identified to constitute a potential hazard based on the RICH evaluation (Ranking
and Identification of Chemical Hazards), while 9 XOCs (36%) were found to constitute a hazard towards
the aquatic ecosystem based on an environmental-concentration/predicted-no-effect-concentration-quotient. The
quantified levels did, however, fulfil the Danish and European surface water quality criteria (QC) and environmental
quality standards (ESQ). Thus, although the QC and ESQ are met there is an actual risk due to stormwater-related
pollutants. This clearly illustrates that there is a need for monitoring the stormwater quality in order to protect the
ecosystems. It also shows that actions are needed to implement source control options and emission barriers.
Twelve XOCs were selected for further evaluation of possible source control option to be implemented in order
to improve the water quality. These are five pesticides (diuron, glyphosate, isoproturon, MCPA, terbutylazine),
4 PAHs (acenaphthene, fluoranthene, fluorene, pyrene), 3 others (LAS, nonylphenol and dinitro-o-cresol).
Original languageEnglish
Issue number1-3
Pages (from-to)187-197
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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