The anticorrosive agents 1H-benzotriazole (1H-BT), 4-methyl-1H-benzotriazole (4Me-BT) and 5-methyl-1H-benzotriazole (5Me-BT), which are usually added to dishwasher detergents, automotive antifreeze formulations and aircraft de-icing/anti-icing fluids (ADAFs), were measured in river water. Samples were collected from 15 sampling sites in the mainstream and selected tributaries of a medium-sized catchment area during summer and winter periods. The aim of this study was to assess a seasonal source influence on mass flows of benzotriazoles (BTs). The study area was representatively selected for an area with a possible influence of airport surface runoff. River discharge measurements were also performed. Moreover, BT concentrations were measured in an anti-icing and a de-icing fluid used at German airports as well as in several dishwasher detergents. The highest concentrations of all three compounds in river water were measured during the winter seasons. The maximum BT mass flows were calculated for all three substances in January when the mean monthly air temperature was the lowest; mass flows were the lowest in July when the mean monthly air temperature was the highest. A significant seasonal influence on BT mass flows in river water was observed for monitoring stations with a possible influence of airport surface runoff and for sampling locations where such an influence could be excluded. This indicates an input of BTs from other temperature-dependent applications, e.g. the use of antifreeze formulations in automotive windscreen wiper or cooling systems. 1H-BT was detected in two dishwasher tablets; 4Me-BT and 5Me-BT were not detected. BTs were measured in the anti-icing fluid with concentrations of 715 ng g−1 (1H-BT), 1425 ng g−1 (4Me-BT) and 536 ng g−1 (5Me-BT); none of the BTs were detected in the de-icing fluid. Distribution patterns of BTs in ADAF and dishwasher detergents differed from those in river water.
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