Nitrogen losses from utilised agricultural areas are responsible for water quality degradation and eutrophication. Denitrifying bioreactors can be used to reduce high nitrate concentrations in agricultural runoff in situ. The main factors affecting their function are the bioreactor fill medium and process parameters such as hydraulic retention time, temperature and inlet concentration of nitrates. The paper presents the results of laboratory experiments achieved with bioreactors filled with eight different wood-based materials, namely mulch, a mixture of spruce and pine sawdust, a mixture of pine and larch bark, and chips made of oak, poplar, larch, beech, and spruce wood. A sustainability index was used to assess the impact of the bioreactor on the environment. The best results were shown by beech, mulch and poplar and were achieved with hydraulic retention times 1.6–0.7–2.2 days, respectively, and inlet NO3–-N concentration of 43.1 mg/L.
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