Laboratory and field trials of the ability of vegetated porous paving to remediate pollutants

  • Michelle L. Mayer

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    Flooding is impossible to prevent completely, consequences of excess water can however, be reduced and often avoided via flood risk management. With the increase in impermeable surfaces, approaches that have the intention of imitating natural drainage to manage storm-water are known as Sustainable (Urban) Drainage Systems (SUDS). Pollutants from vehicles have been identified as a concern in the urban environment, with origins including exhaust emissions, engine oil leakage and erosion of vehicle components.

    Investigation of vegetated parking surfaces (VPS) to limit the impact of pollutants are scarce, therefore this study aims to determine pollution tolerance of grass species for use in VPSs, prior to investigating the effects that vehicles have on a vegetated surfaces and alternative methods in which to analyse them.

    A pot trial investigated effects of increasing oil concentrations on the growth of four grass species. F. rubra L. was found to tolerate contamination to a higher degree than the other species and L. perenne L. produced more cumulative biomass throughout the investigation. A parallel study determined that Ca, Cu, K, Mg, Mo, P and Zn accumulated in grass shoots, indicating that F. rubra L. and L. perenne L. may be suitable for further analysis.

    A field trial focused on a regularly-used L. perenne L.-covered VPS at a local school, analysing the influence of vehicles on vegetated parking bays. Compaction and mean element concentrations increased across the VPS, with distance from the roadside. Use of mineral magnetism as a proxy for geochemical detection did not prove successful as no significant correlation was identified between magnetic susceptibility (χ) and element concentration.

    Use of GIS provided this study with an alternative method for data presentation. Usually covering large scale analyses, an interactive geovisual map of geochemical dispersal and compaction across the VPS provided a novel method of visualising results from an investigation of this scale.
    Date of Award2013
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorSM Charlesworth (Supervisor), Phil Harris (Supervisor) & Paul Cole (Supervisor)


    • sustainable drainage
    • vegetated parking surfaces
    • pollutants
    • SUDS
    • car parking
    • automobiles

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