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Long-term performance of constructed wetlands with horizontal sub-surface flow: Ten case studies from the Czech Republic

Vymazal, Jan
Ecological engineering 2011 v.37 no.1 pp. 54-63
ammonia, ammonium nitrogen, biochemical oxygen demand, case studies, combined sewer systems, constructed wetlands, dissolved oxygen, filtration, phosphorus, sorption, subsurface flow, wastewater, wastewater treatment, winter, Czech Republic
Constructed wetlands with horizontal sub-surface flow (HF CWs) have been in use in the Czech Republic since 1989. Evaluation of the long-term performance of horizontal sub-surface flow constructed wetlands in the Czech Republic indicates that removal of organics and suspended solids is very effective; efficiencies are steady throughout the year and are not affected by season and also by the length of operation. The results from systems treating wastewaters from combined sewer systems clearly indicate that HF CWs can very effectively cope with low inflow concentrations of organics and can provide effluent BOD₅ concentrations less than 5mgl⁻¹. Phosphorus removal is seasonally steady but low as Czech constructed wetlands do not use special filtration media with high sorption capacity. This is not a problem, because in the Czech Republic, there is currently no discharge limit for phosphorus for wastewater treatment plants up to 2000 person equivalents (PE). Removal of ammonia-N is limited by lack of dissolved oxygen in filtration beds caused by permanent saturation. The removal of ammonia-N is steady over the life of operation but is affected by season but the decrease in ammonia removal efficiency during winter is not large.