Vegetated Filtration Systems/Biofilters


Vegetation plays a critical role in the management of urban stormwater, helping to filter out pollutants, maintaining the permeability of the filter, as well as contributing to nutrient removal both through direct uptake and through facilitation of microbial communities.  Plants also help to restore the evapotranspiration that is diminished by urbanisation (through the loss of vegetation and the creation of impervious areas).  They also provide both aesthetic and micro-climate benefits (providing shade and passive cooling).

This group of projects is focussed on developing a wide range of vegetated stormwater treatment systems, including biofiltration (often called bioretention systems or ‘rain-gardens’), swales, wetlands, and vegetated roofs and walls. They are mainly used to treat and/or infiltrate  stormwater for the protection of stream health. Recently some of the systems have been adopted for stormwater harvesting.

Research being undertaken under these projects revolves around identifying the role of plants, selecting the optimal species for treatment performance, identifying the impacts of vegetated systems on micro-climates, as well as  identifying their treatment performance for a range of pollutants (e.g. sediment, nutrients, heavy metals and pathogens).

For details of the research conducted in this area, see the links below:

Current projects:

Completed projects:

For a full list of publications relating to this thematic research area, see the Publications section of the website.