Removal of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons by Extensive Green Roof

SHEN Qing-ran1 HOU Juan1 LI Tian1

(1.College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Tongji University, Shanghai, China 200092)

【Abstract】In this study, four pilot extensive green roof facilities with different substrate compositions were developed. In 8 rainfall events, concentrations of 16 kinds of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in effluent of these facilities were investigated and compared with effluents of asphalt roof, the reference roof and rainfall. The results show that, in eight monitored rainfall events, the average PAHs mass concentration in the effluent of these four facilities was 145, 166, 151 and 160 ng·L−1and that of asphalt roof and reference roof was 900 and 270 ng·L−1, respectively. The PAHs mass concentrations discharged from four simulation facilities were significantly lower than that of asphalt roof and reference roof. From the perspective of the mass load control, all the four simulation facilities could effectively control roof runoff PAHs load with an average load reduction rate of 71.76% compared with the reference roof. Interception and adsorption by green roof substrates were the main way to remove PAHs. Facilities' PAHs removal efficiency could be improved by increasing the substrate thickness with the same substrate composition. Transforming traditional asphalt roof into extensive green roof was an effective way to control the emission of PAHs in roof runoff.

【Keywords】 roof runoff; extensive green roof; PAHs; sponge city; low impact development (LID);


【Funds】 Science and Technology Commissionof Shanghai Municipality funded projects (14DZ1208200)

Download this article


    [1]Li T, Chen Y L, Gu J Q. Effluent quality of extensive green roof with different substrates[J]. Journal of Tongji University (Natural Science), 2015, 43(11): 1 722–1 727 (in Chinese).

    [2]Vijayaraghavan K, Joshi U M, Balasubramanian R. A field study to evaluate runoff quality from green roofs[J]. Water Research, 2012, 46(4): 1 337–1 345.

    [3]Vijayaraghavan K, Raja F D. Design and development of green roof substrate to improve runoff water quality: plant growth experiments and adsorption[J]. Water Research, 2014, 63: 94–101.

    [4]Vijayaraghavan K. Green roofs: a critical review on the role of components, benefits, limitations and trends[J]. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 2016, 57: 740–752.

    [5]Zhang Q Q, Wang X K, Hou P Q, et al. Quality and seasonal variation of rainwater harvested from concrete, asphalt, ceramic tile and green roofs in Chongqing, China[J]. Journal of Environmental Management, 2014, 132: 178–187.

    [6]Chen Y L, Li T, Gu J Q. Influence of the substrate composition in extensive green roof on the effluent quality[J]. Environmental Science, 2014, 35(11): 4 157–4 162 (in Chinese).

    [7]Li H, Li T, Li C Y. Research on the characteristics of urban roof runoff in shanghai cultural and educational area[J]. Environmental Science, 2008, 29(1): 47–51 (in Chinese).

    [8]Wong C S. Environmental fate processes and biochemical transformations of chiral emerging organic pollutants[J]. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 2006, 386(3): 544–-558.

    [9]Lye D J. Rooftop runoff as a source of contamination: a review[J]. Science of the Total Environment, 2009, 407(21): 5 429–5 434.

    [10]Meera V, Ahammed M M. Water quality of rooftop rainwater harvesting systems: a review[J]. Journal of Water Supply: Research and Technology-AQUA, 2006, 55(4): 257–268.

    [11]Hou J, Bian L, Li T. Characteristics and sources of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in impervious surface run-off in an urban area in Shanghai, China[J]. Journal of Zhejiang University Science A, 2013, 14(10): 751–759.

    [12]Maliszewska-Kordybach B, Smreczak B, Klimkowicz-Pawlas A. Concentrations, sources, and spatial distribution of individual polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in agricultural soils in the Eastern part of the EU: Poland as a case study[J]. Science of the Total Environment, 2009, 407(12): 3 746–3 753.

    [13]Beecham S, Razzaghmanesh M. Water quality and quantity investigation of green roofs in a dry climate[J]. Water Research, 2015, 70: 370–384.

    [14]Gromaire M C, Lamprea-Bretaudeau K, Mirande-Bret C, et al. Organic micropollutants in roof runoff-A study of the emission/retention potential of green roofs[A]. In 13th International Conference on Urban Drainage[C]. Malaysia: Kuching, 2014. 2516832.

    [15]Russell V. Guidelines for the planning, execution and upkeep of green-roof sites[J]. Landscape Architecture, 2005, 95(10): 180–181.

    [16]Zhang K F, Fu D F, Li H. Comparison and analysis characteristics of PHAs pollution for different types of roof runoff [J]. Journal of Southeast University (Natural Science Edition), 2012, 42(1): 99–103 (in Chinese).

    [17]Brandt H C A, De Groot P C. Aqueous leaching of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from bitumen and asphalt[J]. Water Research, 2001, 35(17): 4 200–4 207.

    [18]Wang J, Zhu L Z. Preliminary exploration of fate of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in air of dry, wet deposil[J]. China Environmental Science, 2005, 25(4): 471–474 (in Chinese).

    [19]Krein A, Schorer M. Road runoff pollution by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and its contribution to river sediments[J]. Water Research, 2000, 34(16): 4 110–4 115.

    [20]Simonich S L, HITES R A. Importance of vegetation in removing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from the atmosphere[J]. Nature, 1994, 370(6484): 49–51.

    [21]Kipopoulou A M, Manoli E, Samara C. Bioconcentration of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in vegetables grown in an industrial area[J]. Environmental Pollution, 1999, 106(3): 369–380.

    [22]Diblasi C J, Li H, Davis A P, et al. Removal and fate of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon pollutants in an urban stormwater bioretention facility[J]. Environmental Science&Technology, 2009, 43(2): 494–502.

    [23]Davis A P, Hunt W F, Traver R G, et al. Bioretention technology: overview of current practice and future needs[J]. Journal of Environmental Engineering, 2009, 135(3): 109–117.

    [24]Lucke T, Mohamed M A K, Tindale N. Pollutant removal and hydraulic reduction performance of field grassed swales during runoff simulation experiments[J]. Water, 2014, 6(7): 1 887–1 904.

This Article


CN: 11-1895/X

Vol 37, No. 12, Pages 4700-4705

December 2016


Article Outline



  • 1 Materials and methods
  • 2 Results and discussion
  • 3 Conclusions
  • References