Urban pollution control and soil contamination in Sustainable Drainage Systems: insights gained from an extensive field study

Abstract : Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) are increasingly used for stormwater management. However, the generalization of runoff infiltration in urban watersheds raises some concerns regarding the soil's ability to retain ubiquitous runoff pollutants. This question was addressed via experimental investigations on 11 study sites with contrasting characteristics. A two-phase sampling methodology was carried out, expanding the range of analyzed contaminants and soil parameters between the first and the second phases. This successively led to cartographies of metal contamination in the surface soil, and vertical profiles of metal and PAH contents, along with different explanatory variables. The spatial distribution of trace metals in the upper horizon displayed a systematic structure with respect to the inflow area, and revealed the time-integrated signature of non-uniform infiltration fluxes and flow pathways at the surface. In the most contaminated zone of the facilities, a significant enrichment of metals and PAHs was detectable until 10 to 40 cm depth. Soil acts as a “filter” towards these persistent urban contaminants, but in return, surface contents from 7 study sites exceeded “intervention thresholds” for multi-functional areas – as defined in various international soil clean-up standards. In these devices, the area which would require soil remediation after ≥ 10 years of operation was found to be laterally and vertically limited, and represented on average ~15 m3 of polluted soil material per hectare of urban area.
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Damien Tedoldi, Daniel Pierlot, Yves Kovacs, Ghassan Chebbo, Marie-Christine Gromaire. Urban pollution control and soil contamination in Sustainable Drainage Systems: insights gained from an extensive field study. Novatech 2019, Jul 2019, Lyon, France. ⟨hal-02183566⟩

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