Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Committee Chair(s)

R. Ryan Dupont


R. Ryan Dupont


Joan E. McLean


Blake P. Tullis


Sarah Null


Sarah J. Hinners


Pollutants found in stormwater runoff are a growing environmental concern. The EPA has identified bioretention (BR) systems as a best management practice for the control of pollutants in stormwater runoff. BR systems reduce pollutant loads discharged to surface water bodies and to lower pollutant concentrations of water infiltrating into underlying groundwater. However, knowledge of the performance of BR systems in semi-arid Western climates is lacking. This study was conducted at three field sites in Northern Utah to evaluate the effectiveness of various natural and engineered media and various plant species on pollutant removal subjected to a range of pollutant loadings found to represent stormwater runoff in the region. The three field sites were used to evaluate media selection for pollutant removal in a BR system. Two vegetated field sites were used to examine the impact of vegetation selection and loading rates on pollutant removal from stormwater runoff. Pollutant removal was not consistent among the three field sites due to leaching of pollutants from the media at varying rates. The vegetated BR systems improved pollutant removal when compared to unvegetated systems. Pore water concentrations were not correlated with the stormwater runoff loading rates for most pollutants examined in this study, being controlled primarily by media characteristics. Media type, vegetation species and loading are important parameters when considering bioretention design.