Mycofiltration: Harnessing fungi to clean polluted water
Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) like rain gardens and swales are now widely used to treat polluted water and reduce the risk of flooding. But SuDS can go even further by harnessing the power of fungi.
Mycofiltration is a new approach which uses fungi as a biological filter to remove persistent contaminants from both water and soil. During storms, rainfall mobilises pollutants on roads, as well as sediments and agricultural waste, flushing them down sewers and, eventually, into rivers and stream. Scientific studies have demonstrated how some species of fungi – like gourmet Oyster mushrooms (pictured) – can digest pollutants like petrochemicals or bacteria, whilst others can remove and store heavy metals from the environment.
Mycofilters are a low-tech environmentally friendly solution which can be applied to challenges including:
• SuDS and urban stormwater management
• Water Framework Directive targets
• Catchment restoration
• Natural Flood Management
• Wastewater treatment.