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Water 2014, 6(3), 439-454; doi:10.3390/w6030439
Article

Management of Tundra Wastewater Treatment Wetlands within a Lagoon/Wetland Hybridized Treatment System Using the SubWet 2.0 Wetland Model

1
, 2,* , 3
, 4
, 3
 and 1
1 Department of Civil Engineering, Queen's University, Kingston, ON, K7L 3N6, Canada 2 Waterloo Summit Centre for the Environment, University of Waterloo, Huntsville, ON, P1H 0B6, Canada 3 Centre for Alternative Wastewater Treatment, Fleming College, Lindsay, ON, K9V 5E6, Canada 4 WRL Aps, Langkær Vænge 9, Værløse 3500, Denmark
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 November 2013 / Revised: 21 February 2014 / Accepted: 6 March 2014 / Published: 12 March 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wetlands and Sustainability)
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Abstract

The benefits provided by natural (e.g., non-engineered) tundra wetlands for the treatment of municipal wastewater in the Canadian Arctic are largely under-studied and, therefore, undervalued in regard to the treatment service wetlands provide to small remote Arctic communities. In this paper we present case studies on two natural tundra systems which at the time of study had different management practices, in which one consisted of a facultative lake system continuously discharging into a tundra wetland, while the second system had wastewater discharged directly into a tundra wetland. We also examine the utility of the SubWet 2.0 wetland model and how it can be used to: (i) predict the outcomes of management options; and (ii) to assess treatment capacity within individual tundra wetlands to meet future needs associated with population growth and to help municipalities determine the appropriate actions required to achieve the desired level of treatment, both currently, and in a sustainable long-term manner. From this examination we argue that tundra wetlands can significantly augment common treatment practices which rely on waste stabilization ponds, by recognizing the services that wetlands already provide. We suggest that treatment targets could be more achievable if tundra wetlands are formally recognized as part of a hybridized treatment system that incorporates the combined benefits of both the waste stabilization pond and the tundra wetland. Under this scenario tundra wetlands would be recognized as part of the treatment process and not as the ‘receiving’ environment, which is how most tundra wetlands are currently categorized.
Keywords: arctic; wastewater; SubWet; management; treatment wetlands arctic; wastewater; SubWet; management; treatment wetlands
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Chouinard, A.; Yates, C.N.; Balch, G.C.; Jørgensen, S.E.; Wootton, B.C.; Anderson, B.C. Management of Tundra Wastewater Treatment Wetlands within a Lagoon/Wetland Hybridized Treatment System Using the SubWet 2.0 Wetland Model. Water 2014, 6, 439-454.

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