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Open AccessCommunication

Arsenic Removal Using Horizontal Subsurface Flow Constructed Wetlands: A Sustainable Alternative for Arsenic-Rich Acidic Waters

1
Departamento de Ingeniería Civil, Universidad de Chile, Santiago 8370449, Chile
2
Minerals and Metals Characterisation and Separation (M2SC) Research Group, Departamento de Ingeniería de Minas, Universidad de Chile, Santiago 8370448, Chile
3
Departamento de Química Inorgánica, Facultad de Química, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Avenida Vicuña Mackenna 4860, Macul, Santiago 7820436, Chile
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Departamento de Ingeniería Hidráulica y Ambiental, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Avenida Vicuña Mackenna 4860, Macul, Santiago 7820436, Chile
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2018, 10(10), 1447; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10101447
Received: 21 September 2018 / Revised: 11 October 2018 / Accepted: 12 October 2018 / Published: 14 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Water and Wastewater Treatment)
Constructed wetlands (CW) have been widely used to treat different types of water, including acid mine drainage (AMD). However, little is known about their performance in the removal of As from AMD. In this study, a laboratory-scale horizontal subsurface flow (HSSF) CW system was tested to evaluate its capacity to treat highly acidic, As-rich contaminated water resembling AMD. Vegetated and non-vegetated cells, having limestone or zeolite as the main supporting media, were built and operated to evaluate the effect of the media type and the presence of Phragmites australis on the removal of arsenic, iron (Fe), lead (Pb), and zinc (Zn), and on the neutralization capacity. The four types of cells were highly effective in the removal of As and Pb (removal > 99%), and Fe (removal > 98%), whereas Zn removal rates depended on the cell type. Limestone cells raised the pH from ~1.9 to ~7.5, while zeolite cells raised it to ~4. These results suggest that the media type has a key role in the neutralization capacity, and that the presence of vegetation affected mainly the removal of Zn. Knowledge from this study will contribute to guiding the implementation of HSSF CW for treating As-rich AMD. View Full-Text
Keywords: constructed wetland; horizontal subsurface flow; acid mine drainage; arsenic removal; supporting media constructed wetland; horizontal subsurface flow; acid mine drainage; arsenic removal; supporting media
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Lizama-Allende, K.; Jaque, I.; Ayala, J.; Montes-Atenas, G.; Leiva, E. Arsenic Removal Using Horizontal Subsurface Flow Constructed Wetlands: A Sustainable Alternative for Arsenic-Rich Acidic Waters. Water 2018, 10, 1447.

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