Treatment of road runoff by a combined storm water treatment, detention and infiltration system

Miklas Scholz, Sara Kazemi Yazdi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Storm water detention devices collect runoff from impermeable catchments. They provide flow attenuation as well as storage capacity, and rely on natural self-purification processes such as sedimentation, filtration and microbial degradation. The aim was to assess the performance of an experimental combined planted gravel filter, storm water detention and infiltration tank system treating runoff from a car park and its access road. Flows were modeled with the US EPA Storm Water Management Model. An overall water balance of the system was compiled, demonstrating that 50% of the rainfall volume escaped the system as evaporation, whereas, of the remaining 50%, approximately two thirds were infiltrated and one third was discharged into the sewer system. These findings illustrated the importance of evaporation in source control, and showed that infiltration can be applied successfully even on man-made urban soils with low permeability. The assessment of the system's hydrological efficiency indicated mean lag times of 1.84 and 10.6 h for the gravel filter and the entire system, respectively. Mean flow volume reductions of 70% and mean peak flow reductions of 90% were achieved compared to conventional drainage. The assessment of the pollutant removal efficiency resulted in promising removal efficiencies for biochemical oxygen demand (77%), suspended solids (83%), nitrate-nitrogen (32%) and ortho-phosphate-phosphorus (47%). The most important removal processes were identified as biological degradation (predominantly within the gravel ditch), sedimentation and infiltration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-64
Number of pages10
JournalWater, Air, and Soil Pollution
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Attenuation
  • Below ground storm water detention tank
  • Bio-filtration trench
  • Infiltration
  • Lag period
  • Ortho-phosphate-phosphorus
  • Road and car park runoff
  • Salix viminalis
  • US EPA Storm Water Management Model
  • Water quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Pollution


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