Development of Mixed Media Filtration for Stormwater Runoff Treatment

Stormwater runoff from highways and urban areas contains large amounts of inorganic and organic pollutants, such as suspended solids, microorganisms, nutrients and heavy metals. Contaminants carried into natural water bodies by stormwater runoff can significantly deteriorate water quality and cause public health concerns (House et al., 1993). Different best management practices (BMPs) have been developed to control the pollutants in stormwater runoff. The removal of runoff contaminants can be achieved by a variety of technologies including bioretention, infiltration, vegetative swales, constructed wetlands and other engineered treatment systems (Clark and Pitt, 2012). However, many of the conventional BMPs (e.g. detention ponds) are designed to control runoff volume and remove particles in the runoff. These conventional BMPs are generally not effective in removing other pollutants such as Escherichia coli (E. coli), nutrients and heavy metals. Infiltration-type stormwater treatment systems are able to remove different contaminants but these systems typically require a large operating footprint and have the risk of contaminating groundwater. There is a need to develop low-cost, low-maintenance, and effective BMPs that can remove multiple contaminants in stormwater runoff. Media filtration has received increasing attention as an effective technology that can remove particulate and dissolved pollutants from stormwater runoff, using a relatively small footprint. Many low-cost filter materials have been evaluated for their potential for stormwater treatment. These materials include anthracite coal, sand, sand coated with metallic hydroxide, zeolite, limestone, iron products, steel slags, woodchips, sawdust, and tire crumbles; all of which possess good hydraulic properties and are readily available (Bailey et al., 1999; Lukasik et al., 1999; Hatt et al., 2008; Kim et al., 2010; Wium- Anderson et al., 2012; Reddy et al., 2014a). It has been shown that these low-cost filter materials can remove suspended solids, nutrients, microorganisms, and metals commonly found in stormwater runoff. However, studies also showed that no single filter media could effectively remove all of the contaminants of concern in stormwater (Wium-Anderson et al., 2012; Reddy et al., 2014b). Combinations of several of these filter media are necessary to achieve the removal of multiple contaminants. Seelsaen et al. (2006) demonstrated that different sorption media mixes (sand, compost, zeolite etc.) can be used as an effective medium for the treatment of dissolved metal contaminants commonly found in stormwater. Prabhukumar (2014) performed column experiments to evaluate the contaminant removal of individual media materials. The results showed that calcite was most efficient for nutrients and suspended solids removal, zeolite was highly effective in removing E. Coli, and iron fillings were effective in removing nutrients and metals. Reddy et al. (2014b) showed that mixed-media filtration (calcite, zeolite, sand and iron fillings) was effective for simultaneous removal of nutrients and heavy metals from stormwater runoff. These studies suggest that mixed-media filtration systems using permeable reactive materials have great potential to remove multiple contaminants in stormwater runoff. Many surface water bodies in South Dakota are impaired by sediment, nutrients, and bacteria from point and non-point sources. Stormwater runoff has been identified as a source of contamination in surface waters. Mixed-media filtration is a highly promising treatment option that can reduce the concentrations of multiple contaminants in stromwater runoff generated from highways and urban areas. The project proposes to develop a low-maintenance, low-cost mixed-media filtration system for stormwater treatment in South Dakota.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $140384
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    University Transportation Centers Program
    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Mountain-Plains Consortium

    North Dakota State University
    Fargo, ND  United States  58108
  • Project Managers:

    Tolliver, Denver

  • Performing Organizations:

    Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering

    South Dakota State University
    Brookings, SD  United States 
  • Principal Investigators:

    Hua, Guanghui

    Schmit, Christopher

  • Start Date: 20150819
  • Expected Completion Date: 20190930
  • Actual Completion Date: 20220722
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program
  • Source Data: MPC-498

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01579916
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Mountain-Plains Consortium
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT13-G-UTC38
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: Oct 28 2015 10:43AM