Perfluoroalkyl acids in urban stormwater runoff: Influence of land use

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Perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) are persistent organic pollutants in the environment and have been reported to have nonpoint sources. In this study, six PFAAs with different chain lengths were monitored in stormwater runoff from seven storm events (2009-2011) at various outfall locations corresponding to different watershed land uses. We found PFAA(s) in 100% of stormwater runoff samples. Monitoring results and statistical analysis show that PFAAs in stormwater runoff from residential areas mainly came from rainfall. On the other hand, non-atmospheric sources at both industrial and commercial areas contributed PFAAs in stormwater runoff. The mass flux of PFAAs from stormwater runoff in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN) metropolitan area is estimated to be about 7.86 kg/year. In addition, for the first time, we monitored PFAAs on the particles/debris in stormwater runoff and found high-level PFOS on the particulate matter in runoff collected from both industrial and commercial areas; the levels were so high that the finding could not be explained by the solid-water partitioning or adsorption. PFOS on the particulate matter is suspected to have originated from industrial/commercial products, entering the waste stream as PFOS containing particles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6601-6608
Number of pages8
JournalWater Research
Issue number20
StatePublished - Dec 15 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge funding for this research from the Minnesota Water Resources Center (2009 MN 253B). We thank Streets Summer of Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Michael Perniel and Timothy Brown of Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board for collecting runoff samples for this study.


  • Nonpoint source pollution
  • PFOA
  • PFOS
  • Stormwater pollution
  • Urban runoff
  • Water quality


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