This paper reviews aspects of the performance of large (>40 ha) constructed treatment wetlands intended for phosphorus control. Thirty-seven such wetlands have been built and have good data records, with a median size of 754 ha. All are successfully removing phosphorus from a variety of waters. Period of record median concentration reductions were 71%, load reductions 0.77 gP·m−2
, and rate coefficients 12.5 m·year−1
. Large wetlands have a narrower performance spectrum than the larger group of all sizes. Some systems display startup trends, ranging to several years, likely resulting from antecedent soil and vegetation conditions. There are internal longitudinal gradients in concentration, which vary with lateral position and flow conditions. Accretion in inlet zones may require attention. Concentrations are reduced to plateau values, in the range of about 10–50 mgP·m−3
. Vegetation type has an effect upon performance measures, and its presence facilitates performance. Trends in the performance measures over the history of individual systems display only small changes, with both increases and decreases occurring. Such trends remove little of the variance in behavior. Seasonality is typically weak for steady flow systems, and most variability appears to be stochastic. Stormwater systems display differences between wet and dry season behavior, which appear to be flow-driven. Several models of system performance have been developed, both steady and dynamic.
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