Residence time and contact volume in sloped compost and compost/vegetated filter beds

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Little is known about transport mechanisms in sloped dormant vegetated and compost only filters for roadway runoff. Residence time experiments were carried out in triplicate in 0.254 m wide × 0.65 m long by 0.10 m deep beds using a bromide tracer. Bed slope was 12°. Only at the lowest flow rate tested (0.276 l/min per m of filter width) were mean residence times in compost beds with and without dormant grasses different. Pools formed ahead of beds at higher flow rate, and pool depth reached bed depth at 3.54 l/min/m. The ideal model of a well-mixed pool in series with a plug flow porous bed was a good predictor of effluent concentration data at flows ≥2.66 l/min/m. Theoretical contact volume within the beds increased with flow rate to reach approx. 30% of available pore space, while free drainage volume declined. Data shows that designs for sloped compost filter beds must consider flow, bed depth and length, and whether or not areas for pooling are needed.

Keywords: dormancy, porous media, runoff, transport mechanisms, vegetated strips

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