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Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1594;

Effects of the Use of Ornamental Plants and Different Substrates in the Removal of Wastewater Pollutants through Microcosms of Constructed Wetlands

División de Estudios de Posgrados e Investigación, Tecnológico Nacional de México/Instituto Tecnológico de Orizaba, Oriente 9, Emiliano Zapata Sur, C.P. 94320 Orizaba, Veracruz, México
El Colegio de Veracruz, Carrillo Puerto No. 26, 91000 Xalapa, Veracruz, México
Facultad de Ingeniería, Universidad Veracruzana Bv. Adolfo Ruíz Cortines 455, Costa Verde, C.P. 94294 Boca del Rio, Veracruz, México
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 11 April 2018 / Revised: 11 May 2018 / Accepted: 12 May 2018 / Published: 16 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The New Paradigm of Waste Management: Waste as Resources)
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The high costs involved in treating wastewater are problems that developing countries confront, mainly in rural areas. Therefore, Constructed Wetlands (CWs), which are composed of substrate, vegetation, and microorganisms, are an economically and ecologically viable option for wastewater treatment in these places. There is a wide variety of possibilities for substrates and ornamental plants that have not yet been evaluated to be implemented in future CW designs. The goal of this study was to evaluate the process of adaptation and removal of wastewater pollutants in CW microcosms using different terrestrial ornamental plants (Lavandula sp., Spathiphyllum wallisii, and Zantedeschia aethiopica). Those plants were sown in two types of substrate: red volcanic gravel (RVG) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET). CWs with vegetation reduced 5-day biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5) by 68% with RVG substrate and 63% with PET substrate, nitrates 50% in RVG substrate and 35% in PET substrate, phosphates 38% in RVG substrate and 35% in PET substrate, and fecal coliforms 64% in RVG and 59% in PET substrate). In control microcosms without vegetation, reductions were significantly lower than those in the presence of plants, with reduction of BOD5 by 61% in RVG substrate and 55% in PET substrate, nitrates 26% in RVG substrate and 22% in PET substrate, phosphates 27% in RVG substrate and 25% in PET substrate. Concerning fecal coliforms 62% were removed in RVG substrate and 59% in PET substrate. Regarding the production of flowers, Lavandula sp. did not manage to adapt and died 45 days after sowing and did not produce flowers. Spathiphyllum wallisii produced 12 flowers in RVG and nine flowers in PET, while Zantedeschia aethiopica produced 10 in RVG and 7 in PET. These results showed that the use of substrates made of RVG and PET is a viable alternative to be implemented in CWs. In addition, the reuse of PET is an option that decreases pollution by garbage. The plants Spathiphyllum wallisii and Zantedeschia aethiopica remarkably contribute in the removal of pollutants in wastewater. Additionally, the use of ornamental plants, with commercial interest such as those evaluated, enables an added value to the CW to be given, which can be used for flower production purposes on a larger scale and favor its acceptance within rural communities. View Full-Text
Keywords: wastewater treatment; ornamental plants; red volcanic gravel; PET wastewater treatment; ornamental plants; red volcanic gravel; PET

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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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Sandoval-Herazo, L.C.; Alvarado-Lassman, A.; Marín-Muñiz, J.L.; Méndez-Contreras, J.M.; Zamora-Castro, S.A. Effects of the Use of Ornamental Plants and Different Substrates in the Removal of Wastewater Pollutants through Microcosms of Constructed Wetlands. Sustainability 2018, 10, 1594.

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