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Variation among plant species in pollutant removal from stormwater in biofiltration systems

journal contribution
posted on 01.02.2008, 00:00 authored by J Read, Tricia WevillTricia Wevill, T Fletcher, A Deletic
Biofiltration systems use vegetation to improve efficiency of pollutant removal from stormwater, but little is known of how plants vary in their capacity to improve biofilter effectiveness. We used a pot trial of 20 Australian species to investigate how species vary in the removal of pollutants from semisynthetic storm water passing through a soil filter medium. Effluent levels of total suspended solids (TSS), Al, Cr, Cu, Pb and Zn were similarly low for vegetated and non-vegetated soils, with reduction to <1-12% of levels in the stormwater input. N and P effluent concentrations were generally lower from vegetated than non-vegetated soils, but total N increased on average in effluent of both vegetated and non-vegetated soils relative to stormwater input. Effluent concentrations varied 2-4-fold among species for TSS, total N and P, total dissolved N (TDN), organic nitrogen and Cu, to more than 20-fold for NOx, NH4+, Mn, Pb and Fe. Species also varied markedly in pollutant removal per root mass (a means of standardising for plant size), with 18-50-fold variation among species in effluent concentrations of total P and N, TDN and organic N, to >150-fold variation in NOx and NH4+. Hence, choice of plant species may have marked effects on biofilter effectiveness.

History

Journal

Water research

Volume

42

Issue

4-5

Pagination

893 - 902

Publisher

Elsevier

Location

London, Eng.

ISSN

0043-1354

eISSN

1879-2448

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2007, Crown Copyright