A sustainable means of preventing polluted particulates carried in urban storm water entering rivers, groundwater and lakes is by employing vegetated sustainable drainage system (SUDS) devices, or best management practices to trap or biodegrade them. In the UK, a mixture of grass species is recommended for use in devices such as swales or filter strips. However, there is little evidence in support of the efficiency of the individual grasses or mixtures to deal with such contaminated material. A pot-based pollutant retention study was conducted using processed street dust from central Coventry, UK, as a simulated pollutant to be applied in different quantities to a variety of recommended grasses for vegetated SUDS devices. Analysis was conducted on compost cores, roots and shoots for heavy metals (Cd, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn). Street dust mainly concentrated in the top compost layer for all grasses with only the finer material migrating down the profile. Analysis of roots indicated little accumulation, with ANOVA statistical tests indicating significant differences in heavy metal concentrations, with less in the compost and more in the shoots. Development of root systems on or near the surface possibly explains increased uptake of heavy metals by some species. Overall Agrostis canina and Poa pratensis showed the greatest accumulations compared to their controls although Agrostis capillaris syn.tenuis and Agrostis stolonifera also demonstrated accumulation potential. On ranking, Agrostis canina and Poa pratensis were highest overall. These rankings will assist in selecting the best grasses to address pollution of the urban environment by contaminated particulates.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.