Infoscience

Presentation / Talk

Biocides in paints in urban areas: Modelling an underestimated source of environmental contamination

Biocide contamination of receiving waters is generally linked with agriculture. However, recent studies have shown that urban contributions should be also considered. One of the suspected biocide sources in the urban environment is building paint. Biocides like diuron, irgarol, terbutryn, carbendazim, etc., are conventionally used in paint to control fungi, algae, bacteria and other microorganisms that can colonize building façades. The problem of biocides in urban areas is closely linked to meteorological conditions and in particular to rain events. As a consequence, it is important to understand how rainwater collects and transports biocides from façades and how these biocides are transported in sewer systems to receiving waters. In this study, we present a conceptual model describing façade leaching and couple it with a Wind Driven Rain model and a classical hydrological model to compute the contribution of a city to the biocide load from building paint. For the entire city of Lausanne (Switzerland, 200’000 inhabitants), a global production of 2200 kg/year of terbutryn leached by rain was estimated considering local building characteristics and meteorological information. The leaching model fitted well the peak in concentration measured at the bottom of the wall at the initial stage of the rain event. However, concentrations measured in an urban river in the watershed leads to the conclusion that most of this leachate does not reach directly receiving waters, but is infiltrated into soil or reaches the sewers after some delays in drainage pipes. Release of biocides from façade leaching in the environment is systematic during rain event. It is of greater importance to estimate the dynamic of biocides during rain events and to compare these values with dedicated time varying environmental quality criteria.

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