Low-cost adsorbents for urban stormwater pollution control

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30 Scopus citations


Stormwater represents a major non-point pollution source at an urban environment. To improve the treatment efficacy of stormwater infrastructure, low-cost adsorbents have increasingly gained attention over the past decades. This article aims to briefly discuss several key aspects and principles for utilization of low-cost adsorbents for urban stormwater treatment. To determine whether a low-cost adsorbent is suitable for stormwater treatment, two aspects should be carefully assessed, including: 1) its adsorption mechanisms and behaviors that can influence the binding strength, adsorption kinetics, and treatment capacity; and 2) unwanted chemical leaching patterns that can affect the extent of water quality degradation. Furthermore, the application mode of an adsorbent in the system design influences the utilization efficiency. Adsorbents, after dosed to soil media in infrastructure, would eventually become ineffective after oversaturation. In contrast, standalone filters or innovative composite adsorbents (e.g., adsorbent-coated mulch chips) can enable a long-lasting adsorption due to periodic replacement with fresh adsorbents. The aforementioned principles play a key role in the success of urban stormwater treatment with low-cost adsorbents. [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Article number83
JournalFrontiers of Environmental Science and Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2020


  • Adsorption
  • Chemical leaching
  • Low-cost adsorbents
  • Runoff pollutants
  • Urban stormwater


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