Stormwater reuse is increasing in popularity as a technique for overcoming water shortages in urban Australia. However, technology for the reliable treatment of stormwater for reuse is still not fully developed. This paper presents the first steps in refining biofilters for stormwater reuse. Six different filter media were selected, to target specific stormwater pollutants, as well as support plant growth. They were tested in the laboratory, where the filters were dosed three times per week with semi-synthetic stormwater for five weeks. Pollutant removal performance was monitored, and revealed that all soil-based filters performed similarly (while sand filters behaved somewhat differently). All filters removed more than 80% of solids and greater than 90% of lead, copper, and zinc. Three filter types were able to remove some phosphorus (particularly in the top 30 cm of the media). Apart from sand, all filter media were net producers of nitrogen, leading to an important conclusion that non-vegetated, soil-based filters are not suitable for targeting nutrients. However, since heavy metals are the primary pollutant of concern with respect to stormwater reuse for irrigation (the most popular end-use), it was concluded that biofilters may be promising technologies for treatment of stormwater for reuse.

This content is only available as a PDF.