Pilot phase completed for mechanistic study seeking to open BMP “black box”

Posted May 6, 2024
SCCWRP’s Jerod Grey uses a syringe to collect a sample from a set of flow-through columns that have been built in a SCCWRP laboratory to mimic how runoff flows through a biofiltration BMP. Researchers are working to open the “black box” for how these systems work, starting with a laboratory-scale investigation, above, that enables researchers to control and quantify a biofiltration BMP’s mechanistic processes.

SCCWRP and its partners have successfully completed the pilot testing phase for a three-year study working to characterize the mechanistic inner processes by which biofiltration stormwater BMPs (best management practices) treat stormwater pollutants.

The pilot phase, completed in April, consisted of a laboratory-scale experiment that showed that it is possible to pinpoint how specific measurable characteristics of biofiltration media – rather than media types – influence the systems’ effectiveness at removing dissolved copper from runoff.

Next, researchers will scale up the laboratory experiment to examine two additional biofiltration media types and other stormwater contaminants, including per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Later, researchers plan to validate the laboratory findings with experiments in the field.

The study’s goal is to open the “black box” that has historically surrounded how these BMP systems work, paving the way for managers to optimize their long-term performance.

More news related to: Emerging Contaminants, Stormwater BMPs