Microplastics in road runoff: occurrence, properties and transport modelling
Almost 10 % of the annual production of plastics ends up in our oceans. As a result, microplastics (MP) have been detected in organisms at all levels of the marine food chain. It is estimated that 70–80 % of marine MP originates from land-based sources, transported mainly via rivers. Studies on MP in freshwater are just starting to emerge, and observations of MP are alarming as we are dependent on freshwaters for drinking water and food production. An inventory of MP sources in the Swedish environment identified surface runoff from urban areas as a major pathway. The major contributors to MP in urban runoff are traffic-related. However, there are very few reports on MP in road runoff and in stormwater systems. This project aims at closing the knowledge gap on the occurrence and characteristics of MP in road runoff, and on the fate of MP in stormwater systems and transport to receiving waters. Through collection and analysis of runoff and sediment from different road surfaces, abundance and properties of road-related MP are investigated. The results are used to develop a model that describes the transport of MP from roads, through open stormwater systems and closed sewers, to receiving surface waters. This will give us understanding of where in the stormwater system or receiving waters MP tend to accumulate, as well as where in the system and which mitigation measures should be implemented to efficiently decrease the input of MP from road runoff to the water environment.
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Project leader, Dean of education ACE, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Water Environment Technology
Mia Bondelind is Project leader in the Division of Water Environment Technology, research theme Hazards and risks for drinking water resources and treatment, at Chalmers. Mias research lies within...
Adjunct professor, Architecture and civil engineering, Geology and geotechnics, Engineering Geology
Yvonne Andersson-Sköld is an Adjunct Professor in Environmental analysis of transports in the Division of Geology and Geotechnics, research group Engineering Geology. The research focuses on the...
Doctoral student, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Water Environment Technology
lly Lucia Gaggini is a doctoral student in the Division of Water Environment Technology, research theme Urban water and contaminated materials, at Chalmers. Traffic and road runoff are believed to be...
Associate Professor, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Water Environment Technology
Ekaterina is an Associate Professor in the Division of Water Environment Technology, research theme Hazards and risks for drinking water resources and treatment and research theme Urban environments...
- Formas (Public, Sweden)
- The Norwegian Public Road Administration (Public, Norway)