Laboratory study of heavy metal phytoremediation by three wetland macrophytes

Jeff Weiss, Miki Hondzo, David Biesboer, Michael Semmens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Detention ponds and constructed wetlands have proven to be effective in reducing peak stormwater runoff volume and flow, and recent interest has extended to utilizing them to improve stormwater runoff quality. A review of stormwater runoff studies indicated that lead, zinc, copper, cadmium, phosphorus, and chloride are contaminants of primary concern. In laboratory settings, the uptake of contaminants by three wetland plant species, Glyceria grandis, Scirpus validus, and Spartina pectinata, was examined and removal rates from nutrient solutions in flow and nonflow reactors were measured. The removal rates varied by plant species and target contaminant, and no one species was the best accumulator of all six contaminants. Belowground tissues of all three species accumulated higher concentrations of the four heavy metals and aboveground tissues accumulated higher concentrations of phosphorus and chloride. Plants grown in flow reactors showed significantly higher accumulation rates than those grown in nonflow reactors. Also, plants grown hydroponically accumulated higher concentrations of the six target contaminants than those grown in sand reactors. However, those grown in sand had a much greater increase of biomass and removed a greater mass of the six target contaminants. Removal rates measured in these experiments can be used to design detention ponds to maximize stormwater remediation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-259
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Phytoremediation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2006


  • Bioconcentration factor
  • Detention ponds
  • Heavy metals
  • Phytoremediation


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