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Combination system of full-scale constructed wetlands and wetland paddy fields to remove nitrogen and phosphorus from rural unregulated non-point sources

Sun, Haijun, Zhang, Hailin, Yu, Zhimin, Wu, Jiasen, Jiang, Peikun, Yuan, Xiaoyan, Shi, Weiming
Environmental geochemistry and health 2013 v.35 no.6 pp. 801-809
constructed wetlands, effluents, nitrogen, paddies, phosphorus, rain, rice, seasonal variation, water management, wheat
Constructed wetlands (CWs) have been used effectively to remove nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) from non-point sources. Effluents of some CWs were, however, still with high N and P concentrations and remained to be pollution sources. Widely distributed paddy fields can be exploited to alleviate this concern. We were the first to investigate a combination system of three-level CWs with wetland paddy fields in a full scale to remove N and P from rural unregulated non-point sources. The removal efficiencies (REs) of CWs reached 57.3 % (37.4-75.1 %) for N and 76.3 % (62.0-98.4 %) for P. The CWs retained about 1,278 kg N ha(-1) year(-1) and 121 kg P ha(-1) year(-1). There was a notable seasonal change in REs of N and P, and the REs were different in different processing components of CWs. The removal rates of wetland paddy fields adopt "zero-drainage" water management according to local rainfall forecast and physiological water demand of crop growth reached 93.2 kg N ha(-1) year(-1) and 5.4 kg P ha(-1) year(-1). The rice season had higher potential in removing N and P than that in the wheat season. The whole combined system (0.56 ha CWs and 5.5 ha wetland paddy fields) removed 1,790 kg N year(-1) and 151 kg P year(-1), which were higher than those from CWs functioned alone. However, another 4.7-ha paddy fields were needed to fully remove the N and P in the effluents of CWs. The combination of CWs and paddy fields proved to be a more efficient nutrient removal system.