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Water 2017, 9(6), 369; doi:10.3390/w9060369

Assessing the Integration of Wetlands along Small European Waterways to Address Diffuse Nitrate Pollution

1
Department of Applied Environmental Chemistry, Ghent University, Coupure Links 653, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
2
Department of Applied Ecology and Environmental Biology, Ghent University, Coupure Links 653, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
3
Rietland Agro, Van Aertselaerstraat 70, 2322 Minderhout, Belgium
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: David Sample
Received: 31 March 2017 / Revised: 16 May 2017 / Accepted: 22 May 2017 / Published: 24 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Treatment Wetlands for Nutrient Removal)
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Abstract

Nitrate concentrations in numerous European fresh watercourses have decreased due to end-of-pipe measures towards manure and fertilization management, but fail to meet the environmental objectives. The implementation of complementary measures to attenuate diffuse nitrate pollution in densely populated regions characterised by limited available area has been barely studied. To tackle this issue, this study evaluates the feasibility of integrating Constructed Wetlands (CWs) along waterways as a promising tool to facilitate compliance with the nitrate regulations. The aim is to calculate the required area of land alongside a specific watercourse to integrate CWs to reduce nitrate concentrations consistently below the 11.3 and 5.65 mgNO3-N/L levels, according to the Nitrates Directive and the Flemish Environmental Regulations. Nitrate-nitrogen removal efficiencies achieved at case study CWs were compared and validated with reported values to estimate the needed wetland areas. In addition, the removal efficiencies and areas needed to meet the standards were calculated via the kinetic model by Kadlec and Knight. The predicted areas by both methods indicated that CWs of 1.4–3.4 ha could be implemented in certain regions, such as Flanders (Belgium), with restricted available land. To conclude, three designs for ICWs (Integrated Constructed Wetlands) are proposed and evaluated, assessing the feasibility of their implementation. View Full-Text
Keywords: Integrated Constructed Wetlands (ICWs); surface flow treatment wetlands (SFTWs); runoff; diffuse nitrate; nitrogen; EU Nitrates Directive Integrated Constructed Wetlands (ICWs); surface flow treatment wetlands (SFTWs); runoff; diffuse nitrate; nitrogen; EU Nitrates Directive
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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. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Donoso, N.; Gobeyn, S.; Boets, P.; Goethals, P.L.M.; Wilde, D.D.; Meers, E. Assessing the Integration of Wetlands along Small European Waterways to Address Diffuse Nitrate Pollution. Water 2017, 9, 369.

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