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Protecting Waukesha County's Natural Resourses since 1978

Latest News & Comments

Latest News & Comments

Wonder Why The Snow Is Dirty? What the West Waukesha Bypass will bring, along with increased traffic!

Posted on February 7, 2013 at 9:50 AM

Typical Pollutants And Their Sources Found in Runoff from Roads and Highways*


  • Particulates:   Pavement wear, vehicles, the atmosphere and maintenance activities, snow/ice abrasiveness and sediment disturbance
  • Rubber:   Tire wear
  • Asbestos:   Clutch and brake lining wear (No mineral asbestos has been identified in runoff, however, some break-down products of asbestos have been measured)
  • Nitrogen and Phosphorus:   Atmosphere, roadside fertilizer application and sediments
  • Lead:   Leaded gasoline from auto exhaust, tire wear, lubricating oil and grease, bearing wear and atmospheric fallout
  • Zinc:   Tire wear, motor oil and grease
  • Iron:   Auto body rust, steel highway structures such as bridges and guardrails and moving engine parts
  • Copper:   Metal plating, bearing and bushing wear, moving engine parts, brake lining wear, fungicides and insecticides
  • Cadmium:  Tire wear and insecticide application
  • Chromium:   Metal plating, moving engine parts and brake lining wear
  • Nickel:   Diesel fuel and gasoline, lubricating oil, metal plating, bushing wear, brake lining wear and asphalt paving
  • Manganese:   Moving engine parts
  • Cyanide:  Anti-caking compounds used to keep deicing salt granular
  • Sodium and Calcium:   Deicing salts and grease
  • Chloride:  Deicing salts
  • Sulphates:  Roadway beds, fuel and deicing salts
  • Bromide:  Exhaust
  • Petroleum:  Spills, leaks, antifreeze and hydraulic fluids, asphalt surface leachate and blow-by motor lubricants
  • PCBs and Pesticides:  Spraying of highway right-of-ways, atmospheric deposition and PCB catalyst in synthetic tires
  • Pathogenic Bacteria:  Soil litter, bird droppings and trucks hauling livestock/stockyard waste

*Adapted from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Guidance Specifying Management Measurements for Sources of Non Point Pollution in Coastal Waters, Washington, D.C.: Office of Water, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1997 and Federal Highway Administration. Sources and Mitigation of Highway Runoff Pollutants, Washington, D.C.: Federal Highway Administration, 1984.

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