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Berlin Environmental Atlas

01.11 Criteria for the Evaluation of the Soil Functions (Edition 2018)

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01.11.9 Filtration Capacity

Description

The filtration capacity of a soil indicates its capacity to bind dissolved and suspended substances in the soil and not let them reach the groundwater. The decisive factor is the soil texture and the resulting speed with which precipitation water moves through it by the force of gravity. Therefore the filtration capacity of gravelly and sandy soils with high water permeability is low, since the water moves more than two meters per day in water-saturated soil. For soils consisting of boulder marl, however, water moves only at a speed of approx. 0.1 to 0.2 metres per day.

How much water - if any - actually moves toward the groundwater (depending on evaporation/ vegetation) though has not been taken into account in the evaluation of the filtration capacity. The Exchange Frequency of Soil Water (cf. Map 01.11.4) addresses this matter to some extent.

Methodology

The filtration capacity of the soils is ascertained on the basis of the saturated water permeability (kf value) (cf. Map 01.06.10). This method disregards the thickness of the filtration path to the groundwater.

Tab. 1 demonstrates the evaluation based on three categories. Soils with a high saturated water permeability, with kf levels 4-6, are assigned a low filtration capacity. Less permeable soils with kf levels 1-2 are assigned a high capacity.

Tab. 1: Filtration capacity levels, based on water permeability levels
Saturated water permeability [cm/d]
Water permeability level Filtration capacity
< 1 1 very low 3 high
1 - < 10 2 low 3 high
10 - < 40 3 medium 2 medium
40 - < 100 4 high 1 low
100 - < 300 5 very high 1 low
≥ 300 6 extremely high 1 low
Tab. 1: Filtration capacity levels, based on water permeability levels

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