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This paper has the aim to assess the ability of garden derived compost to remove dissolved heavy metal contaminants typically found in stormwater. Compost was found to have excellent chemical and physical properties for the sorption of dissolved metal ions (Cu2+, Pb2+ and Zn2+). Batch sorption data were used to determine the sorption efficiency of Cu (93%), Zn (88%) and Pb (97%) by compost. The relative sorption affinity of these metals by compost is found to be in the order of Pb2+ > Cu2+ å1 Zn2+. The effect of different particle size fractions of compost upon the sorption of Cu was also investigated. Sorption conformed to the linear form of the Freundlich isotherm and can be considered favourable because the sorption intensity values obtained in this study are between 0.1 and 1. Compost with a smaller particle size fraction has larger surface areas and greater sorption than the larger particle size fraction. Compost derived from garden waste is efficient for removal of heavy metals from wastewater or treating water for industries. © IWA Publishing 2007.