August 25, 2021

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Megan Otto, Adam Questad, Stacey Isaac, Maia Colyar and Brandon Steets Coauthored a Paper on Media Used in Stormwater Biofilters in the Journal of Sustainable Water in the Built Environment

Geosyntec's Megan Otto, P.E., Adam Questad, P.E., Stacey Isaac, P.E., Maia Colyar, P.E., and Brandon Steets, P.E., coauthored a paper entitled "Laboratory Media Test Comparisons to Long-Term Performance of Biofilter and Media Filter Treatment-Train Stormwater Controls" published in the November 2021 issue of the Journal of Sustainable Water in the Built Environment.

Robert Pitt was the lead author, and other coauthors were Robert Gearheart, Jon Jones, Michael Josselyn, Michael K. Stenstrom, Shirley Clark, and Jeff Wokurka.

The Journal of Sustainable Water in the Built Environment explores water issues, challenges, and opportunities throughout the developed landscape and covers sustainable stormwater management and broader water systems interactions. Subjects include urban stormwater quantity, quality, hydrology, characterization, treatability, and impacts; water harvesting; urban water ecosystem services; sustainable urban watershed management; urban streams; combined sewer overflow/stormwater interactions; urban energy/water interactions; on-site/decentralized water and wastewater systems, life cycle analysis; and related policy, implementation, and economics.

The Journal is sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the oldest engineering society in the United States. It provides technical and professional conferences and continuing education to the profession, is the world's largest publisher of civil engineering content, and an authoritative source for codes and standards that protect the public.


Stormwater biofilters and bioretention controls have been extensively studied and are commonly encouraged as effective stormwater controls. Most of these controls incorporate media to enhance pollutant removal. There is much published research describing laboratory tests on the performance and selection of different media, and many field tests on media treatment of stormwater, but complementary long-term, full-scale field tests compared to prior laboratory tests are not as common. The purpose of this paper is to compare the laboratory evaluations of treatment media targeting a broad range of constituents of concern, to the results of long-term monitoring of full-scale stormwater controls using the selected media. The laboratory evaluations identified which media blend would reduce concentrations of constituents of concern to help meet National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit discharge limits and benchmarks, given site specific influent concentrations, when deployed in the field. Besides pollutant reductions, treatment flow rates and maintenance requirements were also of a consideration when selecting the media blend, especially determining the useful life of the media before clogging and/or pollutant breakthrough. Statistical comparison tests of the laboratory results with the full-scale field results resulted in similar effluent quality for most measured constituents (especially for lead and the critical form of dioxin), at all field treatment locations. Therefore, the laboratory observations were confirmed by the long-term, full-scale, stormwater control monitoring activities. The selected media has resulted in reductions in concentrations of the constituents of concern, over long periods of use.

More Information

Learn more about the article: Laboratory Media Test Comparisons to Long-Term Performance of Biofilter and Media Filter Treatment-Train Stormwater Controls
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For consultation regarding biofilders and media filter treatment contact Brandon Steets at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .