Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 1287–1302 | Cite as

Analysis of swale factors implicated in pollutant removal efficiency using a swale database

  • Alexandre FardelEmail author
  • Pierre-Emmanuel Peyneau
  • Béatrice Béchet
  • Abdelkader Lakel
  • Fabrice Rodriguez
Research Article


Swales are traditional basic open-drainage systems which are able to remove stormwater-borne pollutants. In spite of numerous case studies devoted to their performances, parameters influencing the reduction of pollutant concentrations by swales remain elusive. In order to better characterize them, a database was set up by collecting performance results and design characteristics from 59 swales reported in the literature. Investigations on correlations among pollutant efficiency ratios (ERs) indicated that total trace metals (copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), cadmium (Cd), and lead (Pb)), total suspended solids (TSS), total phosphorus (TP), and total Kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN) exhibited many cross-correlated ERs. High ERs were observed for pollutants including a particulate form such as TSS (median ERs = 56%) and total trace metals (median ERs ≥ 62%), suggesting that these pollutants are efficiently trapped by sedimentation in swale bed and/or filtered within swale soil. Medium to high ERs were found for dissolved trace metals (median ERs ≥ 44%), whereas ERs for nutrient species were lower (median ERs ≤ 30%). The inflow concentration was identified as a major factor correlated to ER for most pollutants. For some pollutants, there is also a trend to get higher ER when the geometrical design of the swale increases the hydraulic residence time. Overall, this database may help to better understand swale systems and to optimize their design for improving pollutant removal.


Swale Database Stormwater Pollutant removal Efficiency ratio Design factor 



The authors are grateful to D. Lumbroso for its linguistic support.

Funding information

This work, part of the Matriochkas Project, was supported by Agence Française de la Biodiversité.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11356_2018_3522_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1.6 mb)
ESM 1 (PDF 1.59 mb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018
corrected publication 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IFSTTAR, GERS, EEBouguenaisFrance
  2. 2.CSTBNantesFrance

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