Traffic-related microplastic particles, metals, and organic pollutants in an urban area under reconstruction
Journal article, 2021

In urban environments, particularly areas under reconstruction, metals, organic pollutants (OP), and microplastics (MP), are released in large amounts due to heavy traffic. Road runoff, a major transport route for urban pollutants, contributes significantly to a deteriorated water quality in receiving waters. This study was conducted in Gothenburg, Sweden, and is unique because it simultaneously investigates the occurrence of OP, metals, and MP on roads and in stormwater from an urban area under reconstruction. Correlations between the various pollutants were also explored. The study was carried out by collecting washwater and sweepsand generated from street sweeping, road surface sampling, and flow-proportional stormwater sampling on several occasions. The liquid and solid samples were analyzed for metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), oxy-PAH, aliphatics, aromatics, phthalates, and MP. The occurrence of OP was also analyzed with a non-target screening method of selected samples. Microplastics, i.e. plastic fragments/fibers, paint fragments, tire wear particles (TWP) and bitumen, were analyzed with a method based on density separation with sodium iodide and identification with a stereo microscope, melt-tests, and tactile identification. MP concentrations amounted to 1500 particles/L in stormwater, 51,000 particles/L in washwater, and 2.6 × 106 particles/kg dw in sweepsand. In stormwater, washwater and sweepsand, MP ≥20 μm were found to be dominated by TWP (38%, 83% and 78%, respectively). The results confirm traffic as an important source to MP, OP, and metal emissions. Concentrations exceeding water and sediment quality guidelines for metals (e.g. Cu and Zn), PAH, phthalates, and aliphatic hydrocarbons in the C16–C35 fraction were found in most samples. The results show that the street sweeper collects large amounts of polluted materials and thereby prevents further spread of the pollutants to the receiving stormwater.

Road dust

Stormwater pollutants

Micro-litter

Tire wear particles

Street sweeping

Author

Ida Järlskog

The Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI)

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, GeoEngineering

Ann-Margret Hvitt Strömvall

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Water Environment Technology

Kerstin Magnusson

IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute

Helen Galfi

City of Gothenburg

Karin Björklund

Kerr Wood Leidal Associates Ltd.

Maria Polukarova

The Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI)

Rita Coelho Steiger Garção

NCC AB

Anna Markiewicz

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Water Environment Technology

Maria Aronsson

City of Gothenburg

Mats Gustafsson

The Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI)

Malin Norin

NCC AB

Lena Blom

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Water Environment Technology

City of Gothenburg

Yvonne Andersson-Sköld

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering

The Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI)

Science of the Total Environment

0048-9697 (ISSN)

Vol. 774 145503

Hållbara lösningar för att minska spridning av organiska miljögifter från vägar i urbana miljöer

ÅForsk, 2018-06-15 -- 2019-12-31.

Load and measures to reduce the load of traffic related persistent organic pollutants (POP) and micro/nanoplastics

The Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI), 2019-01-01 -- 2021-12-31.

Formas, 2019-01-01 -- 2021-12-31.

Colloidal fractions of persistent organic pollutants in road runoff: sources, generation and innovative treatment techniques

Formas, 2014-01-01 -- 2017-12-31.

Innovative and Sustainable Solutions to Reduce Pollution of Roads and Road

VINNOVA, 2018-04-18 -- 2020-04-17.

Subject Categories

Analytical Chemistry

Geochemistry

Environmental Sciences

DOI

10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.145503

More information

Latest update

3/22/2021