The Biofilter System in Ramla

The biofilter system in Ramla, installed adjacent to intercity highway 40, is a unique case study that tests two types of technologies for stormwater harvesting from heavy traffic roads.  The Ramla biofilter is situated right at the entrance to the city, and the promenade, the benches and the well cared for garden around the facility all help to beautify the approach to the city.

The city of Ramla is a natural candidate for a practical test of the biofilter system, as it is surrounded by major roads and highways that produce large amounts of stormwater.  In an average winter, the floodwater volume within Ramla’s jurisdiction exceeds 2.2 million cubic meters (equivalent to over two centimeters in the water level of Lake Kinneret).  A future network of biofilters that will be established throughout Ramla would provide the city with about half of its water consumption requirements.


The technologies being tested in this project were developed by Monash University in Australia, and are being tested in Ramla as a representative city of the entire lowland are of Israel (haShfeila).  This pilot study, together with parallel projects in Kfar-Saba and Bat-Yam, will provide the knowledge and necessary experience that will help promote the concept of water sensitive cities on nationwide basis.

Ramla biofilter at night

The Biofilter Technology

The two technologies being tested – the biofilter system and the modular runoff retrieval technology – are based on three main stages:

1. Runoff collection

2. Detention and purification of the water

3. Recharge and/or infiltration into the groundwater


The Biofilter System

The system utilizes plants and bacteria combined with filter media to remove a range of stormwater pollutants.  Purification is achieved by means of a chain of biological and physical processes in which the force of gravity is used to convey the water from one stage to the next, without the need of any expenditure of energy.  The biofilter system has the outward appearance of an ordinary garden, and thus offers a pleasant green oasis amid the urban landscape.


Modular Technology for Runoff Recharge

The modular system is being tested in Israel for the first time.  It is innovative and compact, and does not contain vegetation (and therefore does not need to be irrigated).  It absorbs contaminants from polluted water using specially designed filter media.  With its small footprint, the system can efficiently harvest stormwater in places where drainage may be challenging, and is thus suitable for installation in areas lacking open public spaces.  The system allows for and simple planning, and can be installed quickly and at low cost.

Both technologies are capable of efficiently removing serious pollutants from urban surface runoff, such as suspended solids, heavy metals, phosphates, nitrates, oil, fuel and pathogenic bacteria.

After it has been treated, the water from the biofilter and the modular system is collected in perforated pipes installed at the base of the system, and from there the water is monitored for water quantity and quality, and then channeled into a wide infiltration/recharge well, 80 cm in diameter and 24 meters deep, to allow for quick and efficient groundwater recharge.

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Location of the Ramla Biofilter Project

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