Urban storm water infiltration systems are not reliable sinks for biocides: evidence from column experiments

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


Groundwater quality in urban catchments is endangered by the input of biocides, such as those used in facade paints to suppress algae and fungal growth and washed off by heavy rainfall. Their retention in storm water infiltration systems (SIS) depends, in addition to their molecular properties, on chemical properties and structure of the integrated soil layer. These soil properties change over time and thus possibly also the relevance of preferential flow paths, e.g. due to ongoing biological activity. To investigate the mobility of biocides in SIS, we analyzed the breakthrough of differently adsorbing tracers (bromide, uranine, sulforhodamine B) and commonly used biocides (diuron, terbutryn, octhilinone) in laboratory column experiments of undisturbed soil cores of SIS, covering ages from 3 to 18 years. Despite similar soil texture and chemical soil properties, retention of tracers and biocides differed distinctly between SIS. Tracer and biocide breakthrough ranged from 54% and 5%, to 96% and 54%, respectively. We related the reduced solute retention to preferential transport in macropores as could be confirmed by brilliant blue staining. Our results suggest an increasing risk of groundwater pollution with increasing number of macropores related to biological activity and the age of SIS.

ZeitschriftScientific Reports
Anzahl der Seiten12
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 31.03.2021

Bibliographische Notiz

Open Access funding enabled and organized by Projekt DEAL. This research was funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) (02WRM1366B) in the project MUTReWa (Measures for a sustainable approach to pesticides and their transformation products in the regional water management) and by the European Union and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) within the INTERREG V Upper Rhine program in the project 5.3 NAVEBGO (Sustainable reduction of biocide inputs to groundwater in the Upper Rhine region).