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Water Quality Improvement through Bioretention Media: Nitrogen and Phosphorus Removal

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Abstract:

High nutrient inputs and eutrophication continue to be one of the highest priority water quality problems. Bioretention is a low-impact development technology that has been advocated for use in urban and other developed areas. This work provides an in-depth analysis on removal of nutrients from a synthetic stormwater runoff by bioretention. Results have indicated good removal of phosphorus (70 to 85%) and total Kjeldahl nitrogen (55 to 65%). Nitrate reduction was poor (<20%) and, in several cases, nitrate production was noted. Variations in flowrate (intensity) and duration had a moderate affect on nutrient removal. Mass balances demonstrate the importance of water attenuation in the facility in reducing mass nutrient loads. Captured nitrogen can be converted to nitrate between storm events and subsequently washed from the system. Analysis on the fate of nutrients in bioretention suggests that accumulation of phosphorus and nitrogen may be controlled by carefully managing growing and harvesting of vegetation.

Keywords: best management practice; bioretention; low-impact development; nitrogen; nutrients; phosphorus; runoff; stormwater

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.2175/106143005X94376

Publication date: 2006-03-01

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  • Water Environment Research (WER) is published monthly, including an annual Literature Review. A subscription to WER includes access to the latest content back to 1992, as well as access to fast track articles. An individual subscription is valid for 12 months from month of purchase.

    Water Environment Research� (WER�) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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