Management practices for micropollutant control in road runoff

Bruzzone, S., Gouvello, B. and Deroubaix, JR. 2016. Management practices for the control of micropollutants found in road runoff: from the “invention” of technical solutions to the “design” of innovative practices. Novatech Conference Paper

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Many technical and organizational uncertainties are associated with the improvement of the quality of water discharged to aquatic environments, through the implementation of “innovative” management practices for the control of micropollutants. So how can we talk about innovation? How is it produced and can it be transferred? The notion of “design” differs from the positivist idea of innovation as a “plan”; rather, it is conceived as a process of adaptation/repair in relation to already-existant sociotechnical practices.

This work is based on a case-study of four different management devices to treat road runoff in the Paris region. We first show that innovation does not emerge ex nihilo but rather as a form of adjustment of pre-existing infrastructures and skills. Second, the establishment of such devices is not a “linear” process but a back-and-forth movement between the idea, its empirical characterization, its experimentation and the evaluation of performances. Finally, we describe the “transitional” nature of the technical device that changes in the process depending on the actors and skills developed through fieldwork.