Evaluating removal of nutrients, volatile organic compounds, and nicotine by bioretention soil mixtures with biochar amendment
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Urbanization results in reduced infiltration contributing to potential urban flooding and stormwater contaminants. Urban stormwater pollutants, including total suspended solids (TSS), nutrients, heavy metals, oil and grease and microbial contaminants are a concern for local water bodies. One of the most popular stormwater best managements, bioretention, has shown the capability of pollutant retention, but efficiencies are not consistent. This study introduced biochar into bioretention soil media to enhance removal of nutrients, nicotine and volatile organic compounds from synthetic stormwater runoff. Biochar is produced from the pyrolysis process by heating biomass with little to no oxygen at 500 to 900 degrees centigrade. Studies have suggested that biochar increases soil cation exchange capability (CEC), as well as provides huge surface areas. In this study, four types of bioretention soil mixtures were prepared based on the recommendations in State of Missouri, with different biochar content (0, 2%, 5%, and 10% volume percentage). Triplicate soil columns were set for each treatment to ensure statistical reliability. The biochar used in this study was purchased from a local company called Terra Char (Terra Char, 2016).
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