Preliminary stabilisation of stormwater biofilters and loss of filter material

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Stabilisation affects performance of stormwater biofilters operating under intermittent wetting and drying, mainly due to wash-off of filter material. Understanding the dynamics of solids wash-off is crucial in designing stormwater biofilters. The current study analysed the dynamics of solids wash-off in stormwater biofilters and quantified the loss of solids from the filter. Four Perspex™ bioretention columns (94 mm internal diameter) were fabricated with a filter layer that contained 8% organic material and were fed with tap water with different numbers of antecedent dry days (0–40 day) at 100 mL/min. Samples were collected from the outflow and tested for particle size distribution and total solids and turbidity. Solids of particle size less than 50 microns were washed off from the filter during the stabilisation period, indicating that no sand particles were washed off. The very first event after commissioning the filter resulted in the highest wash-off of solids (approximately 75 g of fines) while a significant drop in wash-off followed from the second event. An empirical model fitted to the data showed that preliminary stabilisation of a filter occurs in the first three events, during which almost 25% of fines are lost from the filter.

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