Phosphorus Removal in Stormwater Bioretention Systems

Background

Bioretention systems are an increasingly popular low impact development (LID) stormwater management technology for reducing the adverse impacts of urban stormwater quantity and quality on the receiving watershed. There is a need to better quantify the functioning of these systems in cold climates, in particular their ability to attenuate phosphorus loading as well as evaluate how their performance is affected by high road salt (sodium chloride) application.

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Behaviour of phosphorus in bioretention systems

Project Objectives

  1. Evaluate field performance of bioretention systems in reducing phosphorus loads in urban storm water runoff.
  2. Identify the interacting geochemical and hydrologic processes within bioretention systems that control the water quality changes including phosphorus removal.

Research Methods

Field Investigations

Use state-of-the-art field monitoring instrumentation to monitor the stormwater flows and phosphorus loads in the inflow and outflow and the geochemical processes within the systems for multiple bioretention systems across Southern Ontario.

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Monitored bioretention system on Sarnia Road, London, ON

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Laboratory Experiments

Conduct soil column experiments with bioretention media collected from field systems to identify the geochemical processes governing phosphorus removal. Column experiments will also be run with soil media amendments added and tested for enhancing phosphorus removal from influent stormwater.

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Project Output 

Select Conference Presentations

Y. Liu, J. Goor, Robinson, C.E., 2020. Evaluation of processes in bioretention systems that affect phosphorus removal from urban storm water, Proc. Central Canadian Association of Water Quality Symposium, Toronto.

J. Goor, C. Smart, Robinson, C.E., 2020. Field assessment of bioretention performance in reducing nutrient loading from urban stormwater, Proc. Central Canadian Association of Water Quality Symposium, Toronto.

Robinson, C.E., Y. Liu, J. Goor, 2019. Evaluation of geochemical processes in bioretention systems that affect phosphorus removal from urban storm water, Proc. American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, San Francisco.

J. Goor, C. Smart, Robinson, C.E., 2019. Field assessment of the performance of bioretention systems in reducing nutrient loading from urban stormwater, Proc. Latornell Conservation Symposium, Alliston, ON.

Project Team

Project Leaders:

Clare Robinson

Chris Smart (Geography, University of Western Ontario)

Nick Mocan (President, Crozier & Associates)

Project Members:

Jaeleah Goor, MESc

Brennan Donado, MESc

Yi Liu, Post doctoral Associate

Julia Cantelon, BSc (graduated 2019)

Mary Yao, BSc (graduated 2018)

Supporting Organizations:

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