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Study Finds Copper from Roof Runoff can be Controlled

By Joe Gorsuch, Copper Development Association (CDA), Manager, Health, Environment and Sustainable Development

The CDA, in partnership with the International Copper Association, are supporting a study, Attenuation of the Potential Impacts of Copper Roof Runoff by Stormwater Best Management Practices, which was launched last year by scientists at Towson University, near Baltimore. The university built a copper-roofed picnic shelter with storm control measures to assess the amount, biological availability (bioavailability) and treatability of stormwater runoff generated by the structure.

The researchers found that the planters and swales significantly reduced the amount of copper – some 88-99%. In addition, the bioretention and biofiltration systems altered the chemistry of the runoff as it passed through. Model calculations made using stormwater water quality data indicate that the change in runoff chemistry made copper less bioavailable and therefore less likely to cause toxicity. Take a look at our video that describes the project.

We are extremely pleased the data are showing that stormwater management practices will allow the control of copper released from roofing materials in urban environments. This study is just one more example of the safe and sustainable use of copper.

For more information on the preliminary study results and the sustainable development of copper, please contact me, joseph.gorsuch@copperalliance.us. Learn more here about copper’s benefits.

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