Anthropogenic particle concentrations and fluxes in an urban river are temporally variable and impacted by storm events

Published: 13 March 2024| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/wr8hpryyk9.1
John Kelly


This dataset reports anthropogenic particle (AP) concentrations and fluxes in an urban river during storms. We used automated, high-resolution sampling to collect water samples before, during, and after four storm events in the Milwaukee River. AP concentrations and fluxes varied significantly across the four storm events, highlighting the temporal variability of AP dynamics. When data from the sampling periods were pooled, there were increases in particle concentration and flux during the early phases of the storms, suggesting that floods may flush AP into the river and/or resuspend particles from the benthic zone. AP flux was closely linked to river discharge, suggesting large loads of AP are delivered downstream during storms. Unexpectedly, AP concentrations were not correlated with other simultaneously measured water quality metrics, including total suspended solids, fecal coliforms, chloride, nitrate, and sulfate, indicating that these metrics cannot be used to estimate AP. These data will contribute to more accurate models of particle dynamics in rivers and global plastic export to oceans.



Loyola University Chicago




National Science Foundation