Treatment of suspended solids and heavy metals from urban stormwater runoff by a tree box filter

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Particulates, inorganic and toxic constituents are the most common pollutants associated with urban stormwater runoff. Heavy metals such as chromium, nickel, copper, zinc, cadmium and lead are found to be in high concentration on paved roads or parking lots due to vehicle emissions. In order to control the rapid increase of pollutant loads in stormwater runoff, the Korean Ministry of Environment proposed the utilization of low impact developments. One of these was the application of tree box filters that act as a bioretention treatment system which executes filtration and sorption processes. In this study, a tree box filter located adjacent to an impervious parking lot was developed to treat suspended solids and heavy metal concentrations from urban stormwater runoff. In total, 11 storm events were monitored from July 2010 to August 2012. The results showed that the tree box filter was highly effective in removing particulates (up to 95%) and heavy metals (at least 70%) from the urban stormwater runoff. Furthermore, the tree box filter was capable of reducing the volume runoff by 40% at a hydraulic loading rate of 1 m/day and below.

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