Water, Air, and Soil Pollution

, Volume 183, Issue 1–4, pp 391–402 | Cite as

Heavy Metal Removal in Cold Climate Bioretention

  • Tone M. Muthanna
  • Maria Viklander
  • Nina Gjesdahl
  • Sveinn T. Thorolfsson


A bioretention media is a stormwater treatment option designed to reduce peak runoff volumes and improve water quality through soil infiltration and plant mitigation. To investigate the heavy metal removal in a bioretention media in a cold climate setting, a small pilot sized bioretention box was built in Trondheim, Norway. The system was sized using the Prince Georges County bioretention design method from 1993. Three runoff events, created using historical data, were undertaken in April 2005 and then again in August 2005. Both the peak flow reduction and the total volume reduction were significantly lower in April compared to August. Peak flow reduction was 13% in April versus 26% in August and the total volume reduction was 13% in April versus 25% in August. Metal retention was good for both seasons with 90% mass reduction of zinc, 82% mass reduction of lead and 72% mass reduction of copper. Plant uptake of metals was documented between 2 to 7%; however adsorption and mechanical filtration through the mulch and soil column were the most dominant metal retention processes. The metal retention was independent of the selected hydraulic loading rates (equivalent to 1.4–7.5 mm h−1 precipitation) showing that variable inflow rates during this set of events did not affect the treatment efficiency of the system.


Bioretention Cold climate Highway runoff Heavy metals 



This study was supported by a PhD grant from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology NTNU, Trondheim, Norway.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tone M. Muthanna
    • 1
  • Maria Viklander
    • 2
  • Nina Gjesdahl
    • 1
  • Sveinn T. Thorolfsson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Hydraulic and Environmental EngineeringNorwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)TrondheimNorway
  2. 2.Lulea University of TechnologyLuleaSweden

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