, Research Technical Manager, Env Eng, UMD-Nat Resources Rsrch Inst
Over the last thirty years, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) has implemented biofilters along roadways as a stormwater control measure. The state and national regulations require that the biofilters must be able to infiltrate and treat the first inch of rainfall onsite. However, the performance of the biofilters after installation has rarely been studied. An early phase of this project monitored two newly constructed biofilter sites for two years and for three months, respectively. This study extended the monitoring of soil moisture changes and infiltration water quality for another two years (2019-2020). Over the four-year monitoring period, both salvage peat and compost materials showed the capacity to retain the first inch of runoff, and this retention capacity did not change over the study period. The drainage water quality showed significantly temporal trends, particularly phosphorus concentrations, which were declining significantly for both compost and salvage peat. The application of tailing with compost can reduce the phosphorus release. The leachate from salvage peat has similar metal concentrations but much lower phosphorus concentrations (below 100 ppb) than the compost. The lowest chemical concentrations were achieved when the soil mixture contained 10 percent compost and 10 percent salvage peat, implying the best stormwater control practice is to limit the organic ratio to around 20 percent. Findings from this work determined the validity of using peat and compost for future biofilters and can aid in future design.