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Road salts in stormwater runoff, from both urban and suburban areas, are of concern to many. Chloride-based deicers [i.e., sodium chloride (NaCl), magnesium chloride (MgCl2), and calcium chloride (CaCl2)], dissolve in runoff, travel downstream in the aqueous phase, percolate into soils, and leach into groundwater. In this study, data obtained from stormwater runoff events were used to predict chloride concentrations and seasonal impacts at different sites within a suburban watershed. Water quality data for 42 rainfall events (2016–2019) greater than 12.7 mm (0.5 inches) were used. An artificial neural network (ANN) model was developed, using measured rainfall volume, turbidity, total suspended solids (TSS), dissolved organic carbon (DOC), sodium, chloride, and total nitrate concentrations. Water quality data were trained using the Levenberg-Marquardt back-propagation algorithm. The model was then applied to six different sites. The new ANN model proved accurate in predicting values. This study illustrates that road salt and deicers are the prime cause of high chloride concentrations in runoff during winter and spring, threatening the aquatic environment.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.