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Impact of Escherichia coli from stormwater drainage on recreational water quality: an integrated monitoring and modelling of urban catchment, pipes and lake

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In recent years, recreational waterbodies are increasingly favoured in urban areas. In spite of the growing concerns for maintaining the required bathing water quality, the impacts of stormwater drainage are still poorly controlled. In this context, this study originally develops an integrated urban catchment-pipes-lake monitoring and modelling approach to simulate the impacts of microbial quality from stormwater drainage on recreational water quality. The modelling system consists of three separated components: the urban catchment component, the 3D lake hydrodynamic component and the 3D lake water quality component. A series of processes are simulated in the model, such as rainfall-discharge, build-up, wash-off of Escherichia coli (E. coli) on urban surfaces, sewer flows, hydrothermal dynamics of lake water and transport and mortality of E. coli in the lake. This integrated model is tested for an urban catchment and its related recreational lake located in the Great Paris region. Continuous monitoring and samplings were performed at the stormwater drainage outlet and three different sites in the lake. Comparing the measured data with simulation results over 20 months, the modelling system can correctly represent the E. coli dynamics in the stormwater sewer systems and in the lake. Although uncertainties related to parameter values, pollution sources and E. coli mortality processes could be further discussed, the good performance of this modelling approach emphasizes a promising potential for urban bathing water quality management.

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Data availability

The source code and data of the SWMM-Delft3D integrated modelling platform can be obtained for free. Please contact Dr. Brigitte Vincon-Leite, LEESU, MA 102, Ecole des Ponts, AgroParisTech, UPEC, UPE, Champs-sur-Marne, France, email:


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The authors would like to thank the DSEA (Direction des Services de l’Environnement et de l’Assainissement) and the DGST (Direction Générale des Services Techniques), of the Departmental Council of the Val-de-Marne district, for financing the equipment and monitoring of the storm sewer of Lake Creteil with a flowmeter. We also would like to thank the DGST of Créteil City for providing the authorizations and the street signalization equipment that were necessary to conduct the storm sewer study in the lake. We would like to express our great thanks to the experimental team for data collection and equipment maintenance, in particular Viet Tran Khac, Mohamed Saad and Philippe Dubois.


This work was funded by the ANR-ANSWER project (No. ANR-16-CE32-0009) and the ANR-PULSE project (No. ANR-10-CEPL-0010).

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Yi Hong, Brigitte Vinçon-Leite and Bruno J. Lemaire conceived of the presented idea. Yi. Hong, Chenlu Li and Frédéric Soulignac developed the theory and performed the computations. Frédéric Soulignac, Adélaïde Roguet, Rodolfo Scarati Martins, and Françoise Lucas carried out the on-site experiments and provided data. Yi Hong wrote the first draft. All authors discussed the results and contributed to the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Yi Hong.

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Hong, Y., Soulignac, F., Roguet, A. et al. Impact of Escherichia coli from stormwater drainage on recreational water quality: an integrated monitoring and modelling of urban catchment, pipes and lake. Environ Sci Pollut Res 28, 2245–2259 (2021).

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