Removal of dissolved nitrogen, phosphorus and carbon from stormwater by biofiltration mesocosms
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Biofiltration systems are becoming a popular stormwater treatment device in water sensitive urban design for the removal of fine particulate and dissolved pollutants from stormwater. However, there is limited published data on the effectiveness of these systems for nutrient removal. We constructed biofiltration mesocosms to assess nutrient removal (nitrogen, phosphorus and carbon) under experimental conditions. Different types of media were compared (gravel, sand, and sandy-loam) in vegetated and non-vegetated mesocosms (six treatments in total). Five plant species were used. Vegetated sand and vegetated sandy-loam provided the best overall treatment. Vegetated mesocosms were very effective in removing nitrogen (63-77% removal) and phosphorus (85-94% removal) from synthetic stormwater, and removed substantially more nutrients than the non-vegetated treatments. All treatments removed a substantial portion of the carbon from the stormwater (28-66%). When flushed with tap water, nitrogen and phosphorus were retained by the vegetated mesocosms, but leached from the non-vegetated mesocosms. Plant growth was most vigorous in the sandy-loam media, indicating that this is a good growth media, even without the addition of organic matter.
Water Science & Technology