Compost-Based Stormwater Management Practice Reduces Toxicity to Fish

At Filtrexx, we are continuously studying and conducting research in the fields of compost and stormwater. A recent article reported that compost-based stormwater management practices can reduce hydrocarbon toxicity to fish.

The research was performed by Washington State University, Evergreen State College, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and was published in the scientific journal Environmental Science and Technology. Researchers found that dissolved hydrocarbons commonly found in stormwater runoff from urban watershed sources, such as highways, streets, and parking lots, can be toxic to aquatic organisms.

While most studies focus on the hydrologic and pollutant removal performance of stormwater treatment and green infrastructure practices, this study is one of the few that has focused on the biological indicators of the effectiveness of these practices – specifically, the ability to reduce toxicity exposure to aquatic organism, in this case zebrafish. They reported that compost-based media that filters stormwater can remove bioavailable cardiovascular toxic hydrocarbons from stormwater runoff leading to reduced cardiotoxicity, both visibly and through gene regulation in the developing fish. Researchers concluded that more studies should focus on the biological health indicators of stormwater treatment practices, and this type of green infrastructure management practice is a viable option to remove hydrocarbons that are toxic to fish, thereby protecting or improving both water quality and the health of fish in the receiving water body.

If you’d like to learn more about how compost-based products can remove pollutants from stormwater runoff, you can download our fact sheet, check out our research library or contact us for a free project consultation.

Dr. Britt Faucette, Ph.D., is an Ecosystem Scientist, CPESC, and LEED AP. He earned his Ph.D. from the Odom School of Ecology at the University of Georgia where he researched soil-water-plant performances of various BMPs used in soil erosion and stormwater management applications; served as a state specialist in storm water management, organics recycling, and pollution prevention programs; and served as an adjunct professor. Britt coordinates research, design, and training services for the stormwater and organic materials management industries and serves on technical committees and boards with ASTM, GRHC, CCREF, and IECA. In 2008 he was awarded the annual USCC Clean Water Award. Britt has authored numerous peer-reviewed and popular press publications and popular press articles, two books, federal and state specifications, and has been awarded nearly $500,000 in research grants.

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