Constructed tropical wetlands with integrated submergent-emergent plants for sustainable water quality management

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Journal: J Environ Sci Health A Tox Hazard Subst Environ Eng 2006/10/05
Published: 2006
Authors: Tanaka, N.;Jinadasa, K. B.;Werellagama, D. R.;Mowjood, M. I.;Ng, W. J.
Address: Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Saitama University, Saitama, Japan. n-tanaka@post.saitama-u.ac.jp

Improvement of primary effluent quality by using an integrated system of emergent plants (Scirpus grossus in the leading subsurface flow arrangement) and submergent plants (Hydrilla verticillata in a subsequent channel) was investigated. The primary effluent was drawn from a septic tank treating domestic sewage from a student dormitory at the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. Influent and effluent samples were collected once every 2 weeks from May 2004 through July 2005 and analyzed to determine water quality parameters. Both the emergent and submergent plants were harvested at predetermined intervals. The results suggested that harvesting prolonged the usefulness of the system and the generation of a renewable biomass with potential economic value. The mean overall pollutant removal efficiencies of the integrated emergent and submergent plant system were biological oxygen demand (BOD5), 65.7%; chemical oxygen demand (COD), 40.8%; ammonium (NH4+-N), 74.8%; nitrate (NO3--N), 38.8%; phosphate (PO43-), 61.2%; total suspended solids (TSS), 65.8%; and fecal coliforms, 94.8%. The submergent plant subsystem improved removal of nutrients that survived the emergent subsystem operated at low hydraulic retention times. The significant improvement in effluent quality following treatment by the submergent plant system indicates the value of incorporating such plants in wetland systems.

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