Affordable Access

Publisher Website

Reducing phosphorus flux from organic soils in surface flow treatment wetlands

Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2011.06.109
  • Constructed Wetland
  • Nutrients
  • Internal Loading
  • Management
  • Eutrophication
  • Coastal


Abstract Treatment wetlands have a finite period of effective nutrient removal after which treatment efficiency declines. This is due to the accumulation of organic matter which decreases the capacity and hydraulic retention time of the wetland. We investigated four potential solutions to improve the soluble reactive P (SRP) removal of a municipal wastewater treatment wetland soil including; dry down, surface additions of alum or calcium carbonate and physical removal of the accreted organic soil under both aerobic and anaerobic water column conditions. The flux of SRP from the soil to the water column under aerobic conditions was higher for the continuously flooded controls (1.1 ± 0.4 mg P m −2 d −1), dry down (1.5 ± 0.9 mg P m −2 d −1) and CaCO 3 (0.8 ± 0.7 mg P m −2 d −1) treatments while the soil removal and alum treatments were significantly lower at 0.02 ± 0.10 and −0.07 ± 0.02 mg P m −2 d −1, respectively. These results demonstrate that the two most effective management strategies at sequestering SRP were organic soil removal and alum additions. There are difficulties and costs associated with removal and disposal of soils from a treatment wetland. Therefore our findings suggest that alum addition may be the most cost effective and efficient means of increasing the sequestering of P in aging treatment wetlands experiencing reduced P removal rates. However, more research is needed to determine the longer term effects of alum buildup in the organic soil on the wetland biota, in particular, on the macrophytes and invertebrates. Since alum effectiveness is time limited, a longer term solution to P flux may favor the organic soil removal.

There are no comments yet on this publication. Be the first to share your thoughts.