Microplastics, tire wear particles and heavy metals in road dust from pervious pavements

, Rasmussen Lasse A., Stephansen Diana A., Vollertsen Jes.

Pervious pavements are a relatively new technology for managing the increasing amount of stormwater runoff from urban areas. Besides managing stormwater, studies suggests that these systems can also improve water quality. Microplastics have gained significant attention in recent years and studies on large scale emissions highlight tire wear as one of the important sources for the spreading of microplastics to the environment. In this study, the deposits accumulating in pervious pavements from seven Danish roads were analysed. At each location road deposit were collected from upwards of 800 m2 of road by a designated street cleaning truck using high pressure rotors and suction. The collected material was transferred to a custom-made settling tank of 1 m3 and left for settling for three days. Initially, most of the water was removed by filtration on a 10 µm filter and the retained particle transferred back the to the settling tank. Afterwards a subsample were extracted by three glass sediment corers and combined. After extensive sample preparation involving density separation with sodium polytungstate at 2.0 g cm-3, Fentons oxidation and enzymatic digestion, samples were analysed by FPA-µFTIR imaging for the identification of microplastics and Py-GC-MS for tire wear. Furthermore, heavy metals were analysed with ICP-OES and organic carbon by a TOC analyser. Analysis of tire wear, heavy metals, and TOC are ongoing, while the FPA-µFTIR imaging is completed. The results showed a high presence of microplastic in road dust (excluding tire wear) with concentrations ranging from 1.45x105 to 1.19x106 particles/kg, corresponding to 7.6 to 100.4 mg/kg in estimated mass. Across all samples (excluding tire wear) the most common polymers identified were polypropylene (46.5 %), polyester (18.0 %) and polyamide (17.4 %). Concentrations of microplastic and identified polymers were similar to studies on microplastics in stormwater retention pond sediments.

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