Evaluating the potential hydrological performance of a bioretention media with 100% recycled waste components

Simon De-Ville, Daniel Green, Jill Edmondson, Ross Stirling, Richard Dawson, Virginia Stovin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
43 Downloads (Pure)


Bioretention systems are a popular type of Sustainable Drainage System (SuDS). However, their largest single component, the fill media, is often a non-sustainably sourced material. This study evaluates a bioretention fill media comprising 100% recycled waste components. The fill media components come from multiple waste streams, quarry waste from the construction sector, crushed glass and green waste compost from domestic waste, and sugar-beet washings from the food processing sector. The hydraulically important physical characteristics of the recycled fill media were evaluated against reported literature examples of bioretention fill media, alongside UK and international guidance documentation. The particle size distribution of the recycled fill media was found to be unlike that seen in the literature and was also not compliant with the UK’s CIRIA ’The SuDS Manual’ guidance (d≥6≥6 mm = 45% vs. 0% target). However, this did not result in any additional non-compliance, with laboratory-derived saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ks=101=101 mm/h) and porosity (ϕ=44%=44%) within recommended ranges (100≤Ks≤300100≤≤300 mm/h, ϕ>30%>30%). SWMM was used to predict the performance of a bioretention system installed with the recycled fill media compared to UK guidance configured systems. It was found that the recycled fill media would have similar performance to a UK guidance compliant system, irrespective of its particle size distribution. Further work is required to validate the predicted performance of the recycled media.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2014
Issue number15
Early online date23 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2021


  • Bioretention
  • Growingmedia
  • Hydrological performance
  • Physical characteristics
  • Recycledwaste

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Biochemistry
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology


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