Pollutant wash-off is one of the key pollutant processes that detailed knowledge is required in order to develop successful treatment design strategies for urban stormwater. Unfortunately, current knowledge relating to pollutant wash-off is limited. This paper presents the outcomes of a detailed investigation into pollutant wash-off on residential road surfaces. The investigations consisted of research methodologies formulated to overcome the physical constraints due to the heterogeneity of urban paved surfaces and the dependency on naturally occurring rainfall. This entailed the use of small road surface plots and artificially simulated rainfall. Road surfaces were selected due to its critical importance as an urban stormwater pollutant source.
The study results showed that the influence of initially available pollutants on the wash-off process was limited. Furthermore, pollutant wash-off from road surfaces can be replicated using an exponential equation. However, the typical version of the exponential wash-off equation needs to be modified by introducing a non dimensional factor referred to as ‘capacity factor' CF. Three rainfall intensity ranges were identified where the variation of CF can be defined. Furthermore, it was found that particulate density rather than size is the critical parameter that influences the process of pollutant wash-off.