2021 journal article
Survey of the operational status of twenty-six urban stormwater biofilter facilities in Sweden
JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT, 297.
This study evaluates the operational status of twenty-six biofilter facilities across nine cities in Sweden, with respect to their functional design criteria, engineered design features (filter media composition, hydraulic conductivity, and drawdown time), and includes a visual inspection of the biofilter components (pre-treatment, in/outlet structures, filter media, and vegetation). These indicators were used to examine the performance level of each biofilter in achieving their design objectives set by the operators. Furthermore, it was investigated whether the biofilter facilities had been properly maintained to meet the objectives. Results indicate that the soil media used was consistent with respect to percentage sand, fines, and organic matter and comparable to design recommendations used by municipalities in other countries. The field-tested hydraulic conductivity for the biofilters ranged from 30 to 962 mm/h. This range of values, along with noticeable sediment accumulation within the biofilter indicate that not all the sites were operating optimally. Pre-treatment stages in poor condition with high volumes of sediment and litter accumulation were the primary causes for, and indicators of, low hydraulic conductivity rates. The ponding volume calculations revealed that at least 40 % of facilities did not have enough capacity to retain every-day and/or design rainfall due to design and/or construction flaws. These analyses raise concerns that, for a considerable number of the biofilters surveyed, water retention and flood protection identified by operators as prioritised objectives are not being met. This raises significant concerns about the functionality of biofilter in practice. Finally, some suggestions are given for tackling the design and maintenance problems discovered.