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Rixia Zan

Attenuating pollution in sustainable stormwater management.


Project supervisors

Project description

I am exploring the use of biochar and activated carbon amended sand as pollution attenuating materials. I am using them in soak-aways and under permeable pavements for sustainable stormwater management.

Stormwater pollution has a considerable impact on surface water bodies and groundwater. Using a stormwater management facility could reduce the volume of surface water. It could prevent the contamination of groundwater and other surface receiving water bodies.

Some countries are using green infrastructure (GI). GI includes rain gardens, grass swales, bioretention systems and green roofs and so on. These green infrastructures are also known as sustainable drainage systems (SuDS). SuDS is a technical method to control surface water and groundwater quality. For example, permeable pavements (PPs) used in urban environments can reduce stormwater volume and pollutants.

This project is looking for a cost-effective method to facilitate stormwater infiltration. At the same time, it should treat urban stormwater pollution. I will develop design criteria for the use of biochar/activated carbon plus sand as the base under permeable pavements. This will maximise pollution retention in the base of permeable pavements during heavy storm events. It will do this without hindering biodegradation of retained pollutants by pollutant degrading bacteria.


  • MSc in Environmental Engineering, Newcastle University, UK
  • BEng in Environmental Engineering, Tianjin Chengjian University, China