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Treatability of Filtered Heavy Metals by (Bio)(In)filtration Media: Water and Soil Chemistry Effects

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To address water quality concerns and numeric effluent limits, the designers of (bio)(in)filtration systems will need to integrate water and soil chemistry into the selection of filtration media mixtures. For the “dissolved” metals, designers will need to consider the ratio of valence states of the metals as they consider the proportion of ion exchange resins versus organic-based media in the final media mixture. As the correlations between pollutant capacity and soil/media chemistry showed, metals' capacity is directly related to organic matter content and the effective cation exchange capacity of the soil. Available stormwater treatment organic media provides a wide range of treatment sites, but possibly smaller numbers of each site type, compared to ionexchange resins such as zeolites. An activated organic media, such as granular activated carbon (GAC), will have an increased number of surface active sites potentially available for treatment, but this media may not sustain plant growth and may not be desired as a component of (bio)retention media. Other trade-offs also have to be considered in a complete analysis of (bio)(in)filtration media, such as the trade-off between organic content for plant growth versus nutrient leaching. Finally, there is a lower limit to treatment, after which no further pollutant removal occurs, especially given the contact time requirements based on draindown times required for many bioretention devices. Slightly improved removals for many metals may be achieved with much longer contact times, but the substantial increase in surface area devoted to (bio)(in)filtration may not be cost-effective (given the draindown time requirements). This paper uses “dissolved” copper as an example of how to use both soil and water chemistry to design an optimal bioretention media from a subset of potential mixture components.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2010

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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