Performance of Sand and Mixed Sand–Biochar Filters for Treatment of Road Runoff Quantity and Quality

Harri Koivusalo*, Maria Dubovik, Laura Wendling, Eero Assmuth, Nora Sillanpää, Teemu Kokkonen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
63 Downloads (Pure)


Nature-based solutions and similar natural water retention measures to manage urban runoff are often implemented by cities in order to reduce runoff peaks, catch pollutants, and improve sustainability. However, the performance of these stormwater management solutions is relatively rarely assessed in detail prior to their construction, or monitored and evaluated following implementation. The objective of this study was to investigate the field-scale performance of road runoff filters with respect to the management of stormwater quantity and quality. This study synthesizes data from two intensive measurement surveys after the construction of sand and biochar-amended road runoff filters. The filters were able to strongly control the runoff volume and shape of the hydrograph. The long-term retention was about half that of the water inflow, and a hydrographic analysis showed the significant but strong event-size-dependent detention of runoff in both the sand and the sand–biochar filters. The biochar amendment in the filter showed no clear hydrological impact. The pollutant attenuation of the implemented road runoff filters was modest in comparison with that observed under controlled conditions. The impact of the biochar layer on the effluent water quality was observed as the levels of phosphorous, organic carbon, K, Ca and Mg in the sand–biochar filter effluent increased in comparison with the sand filter.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1631
Number of pages17
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • filter
  • hydrograph
  • road
  • runoff
  • stormwater
  • water quality


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