Water Quality Impacts due to the Addition of Biosolids-Derived Compost to Bioretention

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Bioretention is a common stormwater control measure (SCM). While compost, combined with other bioretention soil media (BSM), has the potential for increased pollutant and water uptake and storage, it also may leach harmful nutrients. Limited information is available on the use of compost in SCMs. Therefore, this project seeks to analyze the impacts of the addition of biosolids-derived compost to bioretention. To accomplish this, bioretention mesocosm column studies were conducted to determine the leaching effects of 15%, 30%, and 30% tap water-washed compost, mixed with standard BSM. Synthetic storm runoff was applied to the columns and the effluent was analyzed for total nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and their speciation. All three columns leached N and P with maximum total N concentrations of 2,200, 2,100, and 300 mg-N/L and total P concentrations of 12, 4.9, and 4.6 mg-P/L for the 30%, 15%, and 30% washed mesocosms, respectively. Therefore, based on this study, it is not recommended that biosolids-derived compost be added to bioretention media.