Benthic invertebrate assessments can be used to gauge the impact of urban wet-weather flows in receiving waters. Experiences from Cemagref in France have shown that standardized benthic indices (e.g. Oligochaete Index of Sediment Bioindication - IOBS) can be used to reliably determine the ecological status of urban streams and can be incorporated into the new European Water Framework Directive. The Canadian studies on streams and stormwater ponds using chemical analyses, benthic toxicity testing and benthic invertebrate community structure (i.e. the sediment quality triad) comparisons have shown that toxicity was more likely to occur in ponds at sites with higher concentrations of heavy metals and heavier polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and at greater water depths, where fine sediments from urban runoff accumulated. A more comprehensive evaluation of wet-weather flow impacts could be obtained by combining approaches from both countries.

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