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Nitrate and Phosphate Removal through Enhanced Bioretention Media: Mesocosm Study

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Bioretention is an evolving type of Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) designed to attenuate peak flows, reduce stormwater volume, and treat stormwater. This article examines the capabilities of a bioretention soil mixture of sand and compost enhanced with aluminum-based drinking water treatment residuals to reduce nutrients from stormwater runoff. Columns with and without a saturation zone and vegetation were compared to examine their role in removing nitrate and ortho-phosphate from stormwater. Results show that utilization of a saturation zone can significantly reduce nitrate in effluent water (71% compared to 33% without a saturated zone), even in a newly constructed system. However, ortho-phosphate reduction was significantly better in the columns without a saturated zone (80%) compared to columns with (67%). Plants did not significantly improve removal. This suggests amendments such as aluminum-based water treatment residuals for phosphorus removal and a saturation zone for nitrogen removal are needed during the initial establishment period.
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Keywords: bioretention; green stormwater infrastructure; nitrate; nutrient removal; phosphate; stormwater treatment

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 September 2013

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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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