Urban snowpacks accumulate large quantities of solids and contaminants, which originate from such sources as airborne fallout, vehicular deposition, and applied grit and salt. Both contaminants and solids may be quickly released during the periods of snowmelt and, consequently, melting contaminated snow in urban areas in cold climates has the potential to substantially impact the water quality of receiving water bodies. Although data on the water quality impacts of meltwater are relatively scarce, instances of toxicity of the highly concentrated first flush and deterioration of the receiving water quality by winter discharges of solids and chemicals have been documented. Common rainfall-runoff management techniques do not usually address snowmelt impacts because of the cold weather effects on biological systems and physical processes. Further research on adaptation of conventional Stormwater management techniques to cold climate conditions is needed.

This content is only available as a PDF.