Infiltration systems are treatment technologies based on water percolation through porous media where biogeochemical processes take place. Grain size distribution (GSD) acts as a driver of these processes and their rates and influences nutrient accumulation in sediments. Coarse sands inhibit anaerobic reactions such as denitrification and could constrain nutrient accumulation in sediments due to smaller specific surface area. Alternatively, fine sands provide higher nutrient accumulation but need a larger area available to treat the same volume of water; furthermore, they are more susceptible to bioclogging. Combining both sand sizes in a bilayer system would allow infiltrating a greater volume of water and the occurrence of aerobic/anaerobic processes. We studied the performance of a bilayer coarse-fine system compared to a monolayer fine one - by triplicate - in an outdoor infiltration experiment to close the C-N-P cycles simultaneously in terms of mass balances. Our results confirm that the bilayer coarse-fine GSD promotes nutrient removal by physical adsorption and biological assimilation in sediments, and further it enhances biogeochemical process rates (2-fold higher than the monolayer system). Overall, the bilayer coarse-fine system allows treating a larger volume of water per surface unit achieving similar removal efficiencies as the fine system. This document is the unedited Author’s version of a Submitted Work that was subsequently accepted for publication in Environmental science and technology,

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Published on 01/01/2018

DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.8b00771
Licence: CC BY-NC-SA license

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