Metal and nutrient dynamics on an aged intensive green roof

A. F. Speak, J. J. Rothwell, S. J. Lindley, C. L. Smith

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Runoff and rainfall quality was compared between an aged intensive green roof and an adjacent conventional roof surface. Nutrient concentrations in the runoff were generally below Environmental Quality Standard (EQS) values and the green roof exhibited NO-3 retention. Cu, Pb and Zn concentrations were in excess of EQS values for the protection of surface water. Green roof runoff was also significantly higher in Fe and Pb than on the bare roof and in rainfall. Input-output fluxes revealed the green roof to be a potential source of Pb. High concentrations of Pb within the green roof soil and bare roof dusts provide a potential source of Pb in runoff. The origin of the Pb is likely from historic urban atmospheric deposition. Aged green roofs may therefore act as a source of legacy metal pollution. This needs to be considered when constructing green roofs with the aim of improving pollution remediation. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-43
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Early online date6 Sept 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Green roofs
  • Lead
  • Urban runoff
  • Water pollution


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