Stormwater runoff, a substantial source of nonpoint pollution, can be treated using Best Management Practices (BMPs), such as the Media Filter Drain (MFD). An MFD is a trench filled with an engineered media mix, usually with a grass overlay, that receives runoff from the paved roadway next to it. The MFD was shown to remove dissolved metals (zinc and copper), typical pollutants from vehicles and urban areas, which might negatively impact aquatic species in receiving waters, but its long-term effectiveness was not known. Existing media filter mixes of different ages were collected from two different sites in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. Columns made with these media mixes received concentrated copper and zinc loading to simulate accelerated aging for estimated total lifespans from 14 to 22 years of copper and zinc loading, with little or no decrease in sorption. Throughout the aging process, some columns were subjected to performance testing with higher levels of typical runoff concentrations and average concentration decreases from influent to effluent were found to be greater than 90% for both copper and zinc. Based on this study, the MFD’s lifespan for zinc and copper treatment is significantly greater than the initial ten-year estimate.
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