Storm-water filter media pollutant retention under aerobic versus anaerobic conditions

Shirley Clark, Robert Pitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Storm-water runoff entering filters is usually aerobic and therefore the removal processes in the filter normally occur under oxidizing and aerobic conditions. However, storm-water filters differ from water and wastewater treatment filters because there are quiescent times when no influent enters the filter and the pore water stagnates. During this stagnation period, anaerobic conditions on a macro- or microscale could develop. This note presents the results of experiments conducted to determine if four potential filter media (sand, activated carbon, peat moss, and compost) could retain previously trapped pollutants when anaerobic conditions develop during interevent periods. The results indicated that permanent retention of heavy metals may occur even in an anaerobic environment (for the media and metals investigated). However, retention of some nutrients may not occur under these conditions, particularly for the organic media. This is an area of concern when the design of filters and bioretention devices includes an internal water storage zone where, between events, anaerobic conditions for nitrate removal are encouraged.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)367-371
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Environmental Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Environmental Science
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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