EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Lightweight aggregates to reduce heavy metal pollution in green infrastructure for urban stormwater management

Concepcion Pla1, Javier Valdes-Abellan1, Miguel Angel Pardo1, Maria Jose Moya-Llamas1, and David Benavente2
Concepcion Pla et al.
  • 1Department of Civil Engineering, University of Alicante, Alicante, Spain (
  • 2Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Alicante, Alicante, Spain

The impervious nature of urban areas is mostly responsible for urban flooding, runoff water pollution and the interception of groundwater recharge. Green infrastructure and sustainable urban drainage systems combine natural and artificial measures to mitigate the abovementioned problems, improving stormwater management and simultaneously increasing the environmental values of urban areas. The actual rate of urban growth in many urban areas requires the enhancement and optimization of stormwater management infrastructures to integrate the territorial development with the natural processes. Regarding the quality of runoff stormwater, heavy metals are critical for their impact on human health and ecological systems, even more if we consider the cumulative effect that they produce on biota. Thus, innovative stormwater management approaches must consider new solutions to deal with heavy metal pollution problems caused by runoff. In this study, we propose the employment of Arlita® and Filtralite®, two kind of lightweight aggregates obtained from expanded clays, to remove heavy metal concentration from runoff stormwater. Laboratory experiments were developed to evaluate the removal rate of different heavy metals existent in runoff stormwater. The lightweight aggregates acted as filter materials in column experiments to quantify their removal capacity. In addition, batch tests were also developed to evaluate the exhaustive capacity of the materials. Results from the study confirmed the efficiency of the selected lightweight aggregates to reduce the heavy metals concentration by up to 90% in urban stormwater runoff.

How to cite: Pla, C., Valdes-Abellan, J., Pardo, M. A., Moya-Llamas, M. J., and Benavente, D.: Lightweight aggregates to reduce heavy metal pollution in green infrastructure for urban stormwater management, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-7915,, 2021.