Nitrate, Phosphorus, Nutrients, sawdust, oyster, woodchips, stormwater runoff, limestone, column test, batch test, denitrification


Throughout Central Florida surface water and ground water are decreasing in quantity and quality in part because of excess Nitrate and Phosphorus nutrients. Stormwater runoff serves as a medium for transport of Nitrate and Phosphorus to surface water and ground water. The goal of this experiment is assess the Nitrate and Phosphorus removal in stormwater using select media. The results of a literature search, batch test experimentation and column test experimentation are used to determine an optimal media blend that may be implemented in detention ponds to reduce Nitrate and Phosphorus. The extensive literature search revealed 32 different media that may be used to remove Nitrate and Phosphorus. Each potential media was qualitatively and quantitatively evaluated based on 5 criteria: 1) relevance, 2) permeability, 3) cost, 4) availability in Florida, and 5) additional environmental benefit. The top 7 performing media: Florida peat, sandy loam, woodchips, crushed oyster shell; crushed limestone, tire crumb and sawdust were selected for batch test experimentation. The aerobic conditions in batch test experimentation prohibited the growth of denitrifying bacteria, therefore media mixes were selected for column test experimentation based on Ammonia and Orthophosphate concentrations. Batch test experimentation showed the most effective media to be 50% sand, 30% tire crumb, 20% sawdust by weight (media mix 1) and 50% sand, 25% sawdust, 15% tire crumb, 10% limestone by weight (media mix 2). Media mix 1, media mix 2 and a control are tested in column test experimentation, where the control is site soil from Hunters Trace development in Ocala, Florida. Column test experimentation models a dry detention pond where water passes through a 48 inch unsaturated zone then a 48 inch saturated zone. To test Nitrate and Orthophosphate removal potential, pond water augmented with Nitrate (0.38, 1.26, 2.5 mg/L NO3-N) and Orthophosphate (0.125, 0.361, 0.785 mg/L PO4-P) was pumped into the columns. Media mix 1 and media mix 2 outperformed the control in both Nitrate and Orthophosphate removal. Media mix 1 and media mix 2 had Nitrate removal efficiencies ranging from 60% to 99% and the control had Nitrate removal efficiencies ranging from 38%-80%. Media mix 1 and media mix 2 averaged Orthophosphate removal efficiencies ranging from approximately 42% to 67%. For every run in every influent Orthophosphate concentration the saturated control added Orthophosphate to the water. The Nitrate and Orthophosphate removal performances for media mix 1 and media mix 2 could not be directly compared because of different influent saturated nutrient concentrations.


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Graduation Date



Chang, Ni-Bin


Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Degree Program

Environmental Engineering








Release Date

September 2008

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)