Litter characterization is an integrated part of the Caltrans First Flush Characterization Study. These data will provide a basis to develop potential treatment technologies and best management practices to control pollutants in runoff from freeways. During monitoring periods in Southern California areas, the first flush phenomenon was evaluated and the impacts of various parameters such as rain intensity, drainage area, peak flow rate, and antecedent dry period on litter volume and loading rates were evaluated. First flush phenomenon was generally observed for litter concentrations, but was not apparent with litter mass loading rates. Total captured gross pollutants, defined as larger than 0.5 cm, was 90% vegetation with only 10% being litter. The normalized cumulative litter loadings were determined from 1.25 to 13.39 kg/ha for dry litter weight and 0.40 to 8.99 kg/ha for dry biodegradable litter weight. The portions of biodegradable litter to non-biodegradable litter were roughly the same across the entire event. Event mean concentrations were ranged 0.0021 to 0.259 g/L for wet gross pollutants, 0.0001 to 0.027 g/L for wet litters and 0.00007 to 0.018 g/L for dry litters. The mass emission rates should be useful to estimate total litter production for developing total maximum daily loads.

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