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Hydraulic Response and Nitrogen Retention in Bioretention Mesocosms with Regulated Outlets: Part II—Nitrogen Retention

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We observed dissolved nitrogen retention in vegetated bioretention mesocosms using different media with varying hydraulic conductivities. Elevated outlets were installed to regulate hydraulic response, with one treatment left free draining. The treatments (three replicates each) were loaded weekly with 50 cm of effluent averaging 2.47 mg/L nitrogen oxides (NOx) and 4.67 mg/L total nitrogen for 1 year. The NOx and total nitrogen retention by the outlet regulated treatments was significantly greater than the unregulated treatment. The systems then were dosed 6 times with 53 cm of synthetic stormwater averaging 0.77 mg/L NOx and 1.46 mg/L total nitrogen, applied over 90 minutes. The outlet regulated treatment retained 68% NOx and 60% total nitrogen, while the corresponding free draining treatment retained 25% NOx and 27% total nitrogen. Over the following winter, the outlet regulated treatment retained 50% NOx and 73% total nitrogen, while the corresponding free draining treatment exported 17% more NOx, while retaining 50% total nitrogen.
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Keywords: bioretention; hydraulic controls; immobilization; nitrogen retention; plant uptake; seasonal trends

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-08-01

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