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Water 2016, 8(10), 434; doi:10.3390/w8100434

Domestic Wastewater Depuration Using a Horizontal Subsurface Flow Constructed Wetland and Theoretical Surface Optimization: A Case Study under Dry Mediterranean Climate

Department of Agricultural Chemistry, University of Murcia, Campus of Espinardo, Murcia 30100, Spain
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Received: 28 July 2016 / Accepted: 29 September 2016 / Published: 5 October 2016
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Abstract

The wastewater generated by isolated houses without access to public sewers can cause environmental problems, like the contamination of aquifers with nitrates and phosphates, as occurs in southeastern Spain. The effectiveness of a previously built horizontal subsurface flow constructed wetland (HF-CW) was studied over two years as a possible solution. This HF-CW measured 27 m2; it was planted with Phragmites australis(Cav.) Trin. Ex Steuds sp. Altissima and the parameters studied were those required by European Union (EU) legislation and adopted by Spain. Average abatement efficiency rates, for the first and the second year of study, were: biochemical oxygen demand over five days (BOD5) (96.4%, 92.0%), chemical oxygen demand (COD) (84.6%, 77.7%), total suspended solids(TSS) (94.8%,89.9%),total nitrogen(TN)(79.5%,66.0%),ammonium nitrogen(NH4+-N)(98.8%, 86.6%) and total phosphorous (TP) (83.7%, 82.8%). Average abatement efficiency for nitrate nitrogen (NO3−-N) (−1280.5%, −961.1%) and nitrite nitrogen (NO2−-N) (−5.8%, −40.0%) were negative because its content in influent wastewater was very low and they appear mainly from influent NH4+-N, as a result of purification processes carried out in the HF-CW bed. The abatement rates make the system suitable to produce discharges into the environment in accordance with Spanish law. It is noteworthy that the HF-CW patch suffered an episode of bed drying during the summer of 2013, whereby the causes were related to system oversizing and high evapotranspiration in the area. As a consequence, the decrease in the abatement of water pollutants during the second year can be attributed to the creation of preferential water flow paths and short circuits through the constructed wetland (CW) bed. As a result of the oversizing of the CW, a theoretical resizing based on BOD5, TSS, TN or TP is proposed. The calculated values for the redesign were: 5.22 m2 considering DBO5, 0.18 m2 considering TSS, 10.14 m2 considering TN and 23.83 m2 considering TP. Considering the area where the HF-CW was located and in accordance with Spanish law for non-sensitive areas (no TN or TP requirements for wastewater discharge), BOD5 is the most appropriate parameter for design; it is 5.2 times lower than the HF-CW initially built and without risk of bed drying. View Full-Text
Keywords: sewage phytodepuration; Mediterranean climate; Phragmites australis; legal requirements; optimal design; abatement efficiency rates sewage phytodepuration; Mediterranean climate; Phragmites australis; legal requirements; optimal design; abatement efficiency rates
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MDPI and ACS Style

Andreo-Martínez, P.; García-Martínez, N.; Almela, L. Domestic Wastewater Depuration Using a Horizontal Subsurface Flow Constructed Wetland and Theoretical Surface Optimization: A Case Study under Dry Mediterranean Climate. Water 2016, 8, 434.

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