IWA Publishing

Leaching of additives from construction materials to urban storm water runoff


Urban water management requires further clarification about pollutants in storm water. Little is known about the release of organic additives used in construction materials and the impact of these compounds to storm water runoff. We investigated sources and pathways of additives used in construction materials, i.e., biocides in facades' render as well as root protection products in bitumen membranes for rooftops. Under wet-weather conditions, the concentrations of diuron, terbutryn, carbendazim, irgarol®1051 (all from facades) and mecoprop in storm water and receiving water exceeded the predicted no-effect concentrations values and the Swiss water quality standard of 0.1 μg/L. Under laboratory conditions maximum concentrations of additives were in the range of a few milligrams and a few hundred micrograms per litre in runoff of facades and bitumen membranes. Runoff from aged materials shows approximately one to two orders of magnitude lower concentrations. Concentrations decreased also during individual runoff events. In storm water and receiving water the occurrence of additives did not follow the typical first flush model. This can be explained by the release lasting over the time of rainfall and the complexity of the drainage network. Beside the amounts used, the impact of construction materials containing hazardous additives on water quality is related clearly to the age of the buildings and the separated sewer network. The development of improved products regarding release of hazardous additives is the most efficient way of reducing the pollutant load from construction materials in storm water runoff.

Keywords: additives, biocides, construction materials, leaching, storm water pollution, terbutryn

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