Water, Air, & Soil Pollution

, Volume 223, Issue 2, pp 549–557 | Cite as

Performance of the Giant Reed (Arundo donax) in Experimental Wetlands Receiving Variable Loads of Industrial Stormwater

  • Shaharah Mohd Idris
  • Paul L. Jones
  • Scott A Salzman
  • Graeme Allinson


Two emergent macrophytes, Arundo donax and Phragmites australis, were established in experimental subsurface flow, gravel-based constructed wetlands (CWs) and challenged by untreated stormwater collected from the hard-pan and other surfaces of a dairy processing factory in south-west Victoria, Australia. The hydraulic loading rate was tested at two levels, sequentially, 3.75 and 7.5 cm day−1. Some of the monitored variables were removed more efficiently by the planted beds in comparison to unplanted CWs (biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), total nitrogen (TN) and total phosphorus (TP); p < 0.007) but there was no significant difference between the A. donax and P. australis CWs in removal of BOD, suspended solids (SS) and TN (p > 0.007) at 3.75 cm day−1 or SS and TN at 7.5 cm day−1. At 3.75 cm day−1, BOD, SS, TN and TP removal in the A. donax and P. australis CWs was 71%, 61%, 78% and 75% and 65%, 60%, 73% and 41%, respectively. Nutrient removal at 7.5 cm day−1 in the A. donax and P. australis beds was 87%, 91%, 84% and 71% and 96%, 94%, 87% and 55%, respectively. As expected, the A. donax CWs produced considerably more biomass (10 ± 1.2 kg wet weight) than the P. australis CWs (2.7 ± 1.2 kg wet weight). This equates to approximately 107 and 36 tonnes ha−1 year−1 biomass (dry weight) for A. donax and P. australis, respectively (assuming 250 days of growing season and single-cut harvest). The performance similarity of the A. donax- and P. australis-planted CWs indicates that either may be used in HSSF wetlands treating dairy factory stormwater, although the planting of A. donax provides additional opportunities for secondary income streams through utilisation of the biomass produced.


Arundo donax Phragmites australis Constructed wetlands Nutrient removal Dairy factory stormwater Victoria Australia 



The research was primarily supported by the Victorian Government Sustainability Fund, managed by Sustainability Victoria. Additional support was provided by the Department of Primary Industries (DPI Project# 08160). Special thanks should be expressed to the Department of Public Service, Malaysia, for sponsoring a higher degree research scholarship for SMI. The project team gives its thanks to the staff at Warrnambool Cheese & Butter Co. Ltd, DPI, and Deakin University, who contributed to the success of this project, specifically Alex Dupleix, Maurice King, Trevor Theodoropoulos and the Deakin Water Quality Laboratory.


  1. Brisson, J., & Chazarenc, F. (2009). Maximizing pollutant removal in constructed wetlands: should we pay more attention to macrophyte species selection? Science of the Total Environment, 407, 3923–3930.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cosentino, S. L., Copani, V., D’Agosta, G. M., Sanzone, E., & Mantineo, M. (2006). First results on evaluation of Arundo donax L. clones collected in Southern Italy. Industrial Crops and Products, 23, 212–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Dillon, P., Schrale, G., Emmett, A., Schmidt, L., Lawson, J., Bleby, T. (1996). Wastewater irrigation at sites in southern Australia and the adequacy of guidelines for groundwater quality protection. In PJ Polgase and WM Tunningley (eds) Land application of wastes in Australia and New Zealand: research and practice. Proceedings of Technical Session 14, Australian Conference 29 September–4 October 1996. (CSIRO Forestry and Forest Products on behalf of the NZ Land Treatment Collective.)Google Scholar
  4. Gallegos, E., Warren, A., Robles, E., Campoy, E., Calderon, A., Sainz, M. G., et al. (1999). The effects of wastewater irrigation on groundwater quality in Mexico. Water Science and Technology, 40, 45–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Hoshovsky, M. (2003). Element stewardship abstract for Arundo donax, giant reed. The nature conservancy, Arlington, Virginia. Available from: http://tncweeds.ucdavis.edu/esadocs/documnts/arundon.rtf. Accessed April 2007.
  6. Kadlec, R. H. (2009). Comparison of free water and horizontal subsurface treatment wetlands. Ecological Engineering, 35, 159–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Kadlec, R. H., & Knight, R. L. (1996). Treatment wetlands (1st ed.). Boca Raton: CRC Press.Google Scholar
  8. Kadlec, R. H., & Wallace, S. D. (2009). Treatment wetlands (2nd ed.). Boca Raton: CRC Press.Google Scholar
  9. Karpiscak, M. M., Gerba, C. P., Watt, P. M., Foster, K. E., & Falabi, J. A. (1996). Multi-species plant systems for wastewater quality improvements and habitat enhancement. Water Science and Technology, 33, 231–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Lawrie, R. (1996). Irrigation impacts at Nowra. Water, 23, 32–35.Google Scholar
  11. Lewis, M., & Jackson, M. (2002). Nalgrass: A nonwood fiber source suitable for existing US pulp mills. In J. Janick & A. Whipkey (Eds.), Trends in new crops and new uses (pp. 371–376). Alexandria, VA: ASHS Press.Google Scholar
  12. Manios, T., Kypriotakis, Z., Manios, V., & Dialyna, G. (2002). Journal of Environmental health Part A-Toxic/Hazardous Substances and Environmental Engineering, A37, 1327–1335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Monti, A., Fazio, S., & Venturi, G. (2009). Cradle-to-farm gate life cycle assessment in perennial energy crops. European Journal of Agronomy, 31, 77–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Perdue, R. E. (1958). Arundo donax—source of musical reeds and industrial cellulose. Economic Botany, 12, 368–404.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Robinson, J. B. (1992). Grapevine nutrition. In B. G. Coombe & P. R. Dry (Eds.), Viticulture. Volume 2, practices. Winetitles: Adelaide.Google Scholar
  16. Stevens, D. (2006). Growing crops with recycled wastewater. In Daryl Stevens (ed) CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood. 304 pp.Google Scholar
  17. Terzakis, S., Fountoulakis, M., Georgaki, I., Albantakis, D., Sabathianakis, I., Karathanasis, D., et al. (2007). Constructed wetlands for highway runoff treatment in the central Mediterranean region. Chemosphere, 72, 141–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ververis, C., Georghiou, K., Christodoulakis, N., Santas, P., & Santas, R. (2004). Fiber dimensions, lignin and cellulose content of various plant materials and their suitability for paper production. Industrial Crops and Products, 19, 245–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Vymazal, J. (2005). Horizontal sub-surface flow and hybrid constructed wetlands systems for wastewater treatment. Ecological Engineering, 25, 478–490.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Vymazal, J., & Krőpfelová, L. (2005). Growth of Phragmites australis and Phalaris arundinacea in constructed wetlands for wastewater treatment in the Czech Republic. Ecological Engineering, 25, 606–621.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Vymazal, J., & Krőpfelová, L. (2009). Removal of organics in constructed wetlands with horizontal sub-surface flow: a review of the field experience. Science of the Total Environment, 407, 3911–3922.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Williams, C.M.J., Harris, P.L., Biswas, T.K., Heading, S. (2006). Use of Giant Reed (Arundo donax L.) to treat wastewaters for resource recycling in South Australia. In Bioenergy Australia 2006 Conference “A growth opportunity for energy and the environment.” Fremantle, 5–8 December.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shaharah Mohd Idris
    • 1
  • Paul L. Jones
    • 1
  • Scott A Salzman
    • 2
  • Graeme Allinson
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Life and Environmental SciencesDeakin UniversityWarrnamboolAustralia
  2. 2.School of Information SystemsDeakin UniversityWarrnamboolAustralia
  3. 3.Future Farming Systems Research, Department of Primary IndustriesDPI Queenscliff CentreQueenscliffAustralia

Personalised recommendations