Comparing Properties of Water Absorbing/Filtering Media for Bioslope/Bioswale Design

Principal Investigator(s):

Kurt Johnson, Former Research Fellow, UMD-Nat Resources Rsrch Inst


  • Meijun Cai, Research Technical Manager, Env Eng, UMD-Nat Resources Rsrch Inst
  • David Saftner, Associate Professor & Depart. Head, UMD-Civil Engineering

Project summary:

Drainage from highways, particularly the first flush of runoff, contains high levels of contaminants such as suspended solids, metals, and organics. To restrict the discharge of polluted stormwater, the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) State Disposal System (SDS) General Permit issued by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) in 2013 requires that the first inch of stormwater runoff from new impervious surfaces should be held on site through infiltration, harvesting, or reuse. Multiple types of infiltration materials have been studied in the laboratory and the field, but few studies have considered the application of local materials for best management practices (BMP). The objective of this project is to determine the characteristics of various naturally occurring, water-absorbing and filtering media, such as peat and muck, found along road construction projects in northern Minnesota. Salvage and reuse of these materials during road construction is being evaluated for stormwater treatment, which includes absorption, infiltration, filtration, and pollutant capture, in constructed vegetated slopes along highway right of ways. The naturally occurring material is being compared to leaf and grass feedstock compost.

Project details:

  • Project number: 2016006
  • Start date: 04/2015
  • Project status: Completed
  • Research area: Environment and Energy