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Microcosm Wetlands for Wastewater Treatment with Different Hydraulic Loading Rates and Macrophytes

Jing, Shuh-Ren, Lin, Ying-Feng, Wang, Tze-Wen, Lee, Der-Yuan
Journal of environmental quality 2002 v.31 no.2 pp. 690-696
Commelina communis, Ipomoea aquatica, Ludwigia, Phragmites australis, Pistia stratiotes, chemical oxygen demand, constructed wetlands, emergent plants, municipal wastewater, wastewater treatment, Taiwan
Constructed wetlands (CW) usually require large land areas for treating wastewater. This study evaluated the feasibility of applying CW with less land requirement by operating a group of microcosm wetlands at a hydraulic retention time (HRT) of less than 4 d in southern Taiwan. An artificial wastewater, simulating municipal wastewater containing 200 mg L−1 of chemical oxygen demand (COD), 20 mg L−1 of NH+ 4–N (AN), and 20 mg L−1 of PO3− 4–P (OP), was the inflow source. Three emergent plants [reed, Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. ex Steud.; water primrose, Ludwigia octovalvis (Jacq.) P.H. Raven; and dayflower, Commelina communis L.] and two floating plants [water spinach, Ipomoea aquatica Forssk.; and water lettuce, Pistia stratiotes L.] plants were tested. The planted systems showed more nutrient removal than unplanted systems; however, the type of macrophytes in CW did not make a major difference in treatment. At the HRTs of 2 to 4 d, the planted system maintained greater than 72, 80, and 46% removal for COD, AN, and OP, respectively. For AN and OP removal, the highest efficiencies occurred at the HRT of 3 d, whereas maximum removal rates for AN and OP occurred at the HRT of 2 d. Both removal rates and efficiencies were reduced drastically at the HRT of 1 d. Removals of COD, OP, and AN followed first-order reactions within the HRTs of 1 to 4 d. The efficient removals of these constituents obtained with HRT between 2 and 4 d indicated the possibility of using a CW system for waste-water treatment with less land requirement.