The vertical flow constructed wetland (VFCW) has become an attractive decentralised technology for septage treatment. One of the main purposes of the septage treatment is to reduce the volume of raw septage through dewatering, where the solids content is retained in the wetland bed and the water content is released. The retention of solids forms a layer of sludge deposit at the wetland surface, and the drained water, the so-called leachate, typically contains a lower solids content. This article reports the performance of dewatering and filtration of a pilot-scale VFCW designed for septage treatment. A comparison between two feeding strategies, hydraulic loading rate (HLR) and solids loading rate (SLR), is presented. The dewatering efficiency through drainage was found to be dependent on the solids load. The removal of total solids (TS) and chemical oxygen demand (COD) were excellent as the quality of leachate showed that more than 90% of TS and COD were retained in the system. This study reveals that the feeding based on SLR delivered a more sustainable performance for dewatering and solids removal. The build-up of sludge deposit significantly deteriorated the dewatering efficiency through drainage, but it tended to improve the filtration capacity.
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