Measuring solids concentration in stormwater runoff: Comparison of analytical methods

Shirley E. Clark, Christina Y.S. Siu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Stormwater suspended solids typically are quantified using one of two methods: aliquot/subsample analysis (total suspended solids [TSS]) or whole-sample analysis (suspended solids concentration [SSC]). Interproject comparisons are difficult because of inconsistencies in the methods and in their application. To address this concern, the suspended solids content has been measured using both methodologies in many current projects, but the question remains about how to compare these values with historical water-quality data where the analytical methodology is unknown. This research was undertaken to determine the effect of analytical methodology on the relationship between these two methods of determination of the suspended solids concentration, including the effect of aliquot selection/ collection method and of particle size distribution (PSD). The results showed that SSC was best able to represent the known sample concentration and that the results were independent of the sample's PSD. Correlations between the results and the known sample concentration could be established for TSS samples, but they were highly dependent on the sample's PSD and on the aliquot collection technique. These results emphasize the need to report not only the analytical method but also the particle size information on the solids in stormwater runoff.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)511-516
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry


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