Waste-derived compost and biochar amendments for stormwater treatment in bioretention column: Co-transport of metals and colloids

Yuqing Sun, Season S. Chen, Abbe Y.T. Lau, Daniel C.W. Tsang, Sanjay K. Mohanty, Amit Bhatnagar, Jörg Rinklebe, Kun Yi Andrew Lin, Yong Sik Ok

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

84 Citations (Scopus)


Bioretention systems, as one of the most practical management operations for low impact development of water recovery, utilize different soil amendments to remove contaminants from stormwater. For the sake of urban sustainability, the utilization of amendments derived from waste materials has a potential to reduce waste disposal at landfill while improving the quality of stormwater discharge. This study investigated the efficiency of food waste compost and wood waste biochar for metal removal from synthetic stormwater runoff under intermittent flow and co-presence of colloids. Throughout intermittent infiltration of 84 pore volumes of stormwater, columns amended with compost and biochar removed more than 50–70% of influent metals, whereas iron-oxide coated sand was much less effective. Only a small portion of metals adsorbed on the compost (< 0.74%) was reactivated during the drainage of urban pipelines that do not flow frequently, owing to abundant oxygen-containing functional groups in compost. In comparison, co-existing kaolinite enhanced metal removal by biochar owing to the abundance of active sites, whereas co-existing humic acid facilitated mobilization via metal-humate complexation. The results suggest that both waste-derived compost and biochar show promising potential for stormwater harvesting, while biochar is expected to be more recalcitrant and desirable in field-scale bioretention systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number121243
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2020


  • Bioretention systems
  • Engineered biochar
  • Metal/metalloid immobilization
  • Stormwater treatment
  • Sustainable waste management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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