Biochar and Stormwater Runoff #stormwater

Francesco Tortorici


Thanks for the overview.  Here is a link Pacific Northwest Biochar Atlas that I believe you were involved in getting started.  I am not sure how up to date it is, but there is a list of biochar suppliers under the Find Biochar tab located in the pacific NW. 

From firsthand experience, several ports on the North Olympic Peninsula and San Juan Islands have done in-house designs and construction of various biochar-based filtration systems.  Ports in particular have benchmarks they must meet for discharge into the bay of both zinc and copper.  One of the projects was done in collaboration with Biological Carbon LLC whose downspout filter designs were used.  Olympic Biochar furnished the biochar and constructed the downspout filters that were installed by the port.   All filters met the discharge requirements for several years.

Another port has designed and installed in-ground systems using Olympic Biochar at a fraction of the cost of traditionally engineered systems.  They feel when the biochar has reached its capacity, it has the benefit of not “dumping” what has been captured due to PH and biological changes in the filters; it can easily and affordably be replaced when necessary.

It has been my experience that whether biochar is incorporated into gardens, farms or used in stormwater filtration, it is the citizen scientists that are leading the way.

You mentioned biochar being included in a state stormwater manual.  Do you have a link to that manual?


We know more about the stars overhead than the soil underfoot.
Leonardo Da Vinci

On Sun, Dec 29, 2019 at 9:47 AM Tom Miles <tmiles@...> wrote:

We see good market potential in stormwater. Biochars are currently being used in several commercial stormwater applications. Companies like Gulleywasher and have been using biochar in filtration systems for more than 10 years. Biological Carbon LLC, Rexius and others sell biochar media for stormwater systems and filtration hardware. Biochars and biochar based products are excellent for capturing and remediating metals and bacteria. Civil engineers are finding cost benefits compared with activated carbon in some applications.  Large scale “facilities” (stormwater structures, filters, swales ) incorporating biochar have been in place for several years. Biochar has been included in at least one state stormwater manual. It needs to be included in more state and national design guides for Best Management Practices (BMPs) for landscaping (ASLA), and civial engineering so that it can be specified as an approved media for stormwater. Biochar and media suppliers tell us that public contractors allow “approved equal” so that contractors sometimes find cheaper alternatives to more expensive biochars.  


Several university groups working on stormwater have reported on their progress each year at biochar and stormwater conferences. Dupont reported n their use of biochar to remediate mercury using products from BiocharNow.  A consortium of universities (UC Berkeley, Stanford, Colorado School of Mines) has been working on biochar and stormwater for several years. They recently installed a system for cleaning water to recharge an aquifer using biochar from Oregon Biochar Solutions. University of Idaho Cool Terra biochar in a prize winning phosphorous removal system. Several universities (e.g. University of Florida) have developed biochar based media for metals removal.


Several companies have developed biochar based biotic soil amendments for erosion control and revegetation. Permamatrix was an early entry. It quickly joined Profile Products and their Proganics products. Mirimichi Green incorporates their CarbonPN product. They supply a well-known fertilizer company, LESCO, which introduced their granulated and liquid biotic soil amendments called CarbonPro at this year’s Golf Superintendent Associationof America conference. They distribute through a company that distributes to stormwater, erosion control and landscape contractors nationwide.  


If it depended just on compliance with EPA NPDES water discharge permits the market would be limited but green infrastructure for water quality is growing and the household, local, state and regional level.




Tom Miles

Executive Director

U.S. Biochar Initiative

"Promoting the Sustainable Production and Use of Biochar"


Facebook US Biochar Initiative





From: <> On Behalf Of mikethewormguy via Groups.Io
Sent: Sunday, December 29, 2019 6:54 AM
Subject: Re: [Biochar] Biochar and Stormwater Runoff




These results are encouraging and reinforcing for both stormwater management and agricultural management.


Do you see stormwater management folks seeing these results as executable and affordable....?






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