Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1029/2023WR035532
Licence creative commons licence
Title (Primary) Assessing the behavior of microplastics in fluvial systems: Infiltration and retention dynamics in streambed sediments
Author Boos, J.-P.; Dichgans, F.; Fleckenstein, J.H.; Gilfedder, B.S.; Frei, S.
Source Titel Water Resources Research
Year 2024
Department HDG
Volume 60
Issue 2
Page From e2023WR035532
Language englisch
Topic T5 Future Landscapes
Data and Software links
Keywords microplastics; fluvial systems; advective transfer; particle size; streambed sediments; flow velocities; retention
Abstract Microplastics (MPs) have been detected ubiquitously in fluvial systems and advective transfer has been proposed as a potential mechanism for the transport of (sub-) pore-scale MPs from surface waters into streambed sediments. However, the influence of particle and sediment properties, as well as the hydrodynamic flow regime, on the infiltration behavior and mobility of MPs in streambed sediments remains unclear. In this study, we conducted a series of flume experiments to investigate the effect of particle size (1–10 μm), sediment type (fine and coarse sand), and flow regime (high/low flow) on particle infiltration dynamics in a rippled streambed. Quantification of particles in the flume compartments (surface flow, streambed interface, and in the streambed) was achieved using continuous fluorescence techniques. Results indicated that the maximum infiltration depth into the streambed decreased with increasing particle size (11, 10, and 7 cm for 1, 3, and 10 μm). The highest particle retardation was observed in the fine sediment experiment, where 22% of the particles were still in the streambed at the end of the experiment. Particle residence times were shortest under high flow conditions, suggesting that periods of increased discharge can effectively flush MPs from streambed sediments. This study provides novel insights into the complex dynamics of MP infiltration and retention in streambed sediments and contributes to a better understanding of MPs fate in fluvial ecosystems. Quantitative data from this study can improve existing modeling frameworks for MPs transport and assist in assessing the exposure risk of MPs ingestion by benthic organisms.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Boos, J.-P., Dichgans, F., Fleckenstein, J.H., Gilfedder, B.S., Frei, S. (2024):
Assessing the behavior of microplastics in fluvial systems: Infiltration and retention dynamics in streambed sediments
Water Resour. Res. 60 (2), e2023WR035532 10.1029/2023WR035532