PRATIC - Social practices, technical objects and chemical and microbiological contaminants. Socio-technical analysis of contamination processes of the catchment and infiltration basins of the Lyon agglomeration (2013)

Scientific coordinator: Sophie Vareilles (EVS) –
Disciplines: Urban planning – Microbiology
Laboratories: EVS – LEM – LGCIE – LEHNA – OTHU
Partners: Grand Lyon


Since the end of the 1990s, calls for a return to “nature” in the city and the rise of environmental concerns are causing a multiplication of developments using and showcasing water. The PRATIC project examines in particular catchment and infiltration basins which have recently increased in number in cities. These structures aim to store runoff water during rainy periods for a certain length of time, in order to enable purification via settling.

Previous and current research indicates that sediment deposits present in the basins and formed via settling represent zones of contamination and of concentration of chemical and microbiological contaminants representative of the complexity of urban environments. Thus, these chemical and microbiological contaminants are transported by runoff waters, which are polluted due to phenomena arising from human activity and linking social activities mobilising objects and technical and spatial systems.

The PRATIC project aims to better understand this social production of contaminants and their transfers to urban environments.

The PRATIC project relies on two studies: The first study involves the manner in which social activities present around the drainage basin mobilise technical systems and thereby pollute rainwater. The second study concerns contaminants and consists of chemical, microbiological and eco-toxicity analyses of rainwater and of the sediments deposited in the basins.