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Celebration of Scholarship and Creative Activity 2022

“Soil Contamination of UW Oshkosh Bioswales”

Joshua Dewhurst

Junior, Chemistry


Throughout the UW Oshkosh campus, there are multiple bioswales, which are basins designed to collect stormwater runoff from parking lots and other hard surfaces and filter out pollutants associated with vehicles and human activity, such as metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) contaminants. Vehicles can be a source of metals from tire balancing weights (lead) and brake pads (copper) as well as a source of organic compounds associated with gas, oil, and tires (all three have PAHs). Many of the UWO bioswales are over 10 years old and so the levels of the contaminants in the basins should be increasing. For my research, I collected soil samples at multiple bioswales and analyzed the levels of metals and PAHs in the samples. One goal of this work is to determine if the bioswales are actually performing as expected and collecting these contaminants, and the other was to see if the contaminant levels in the bioswales are still within EPA standards.

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