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Nitrogen removal in wood chip combined substrate baffled subsurface-flow constructed wetlands: impact of matrix arrangement and intermittent aeration

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In this study, two lab-scale baffled subsurface-flow constructed wetlands (BSFCWs), including gravel-wood chips-slag and gravel-slag-wood chips, were operated at different intermittent aeration to evaluate the effect of artificial aeration and slow-released carbon source on the treatment efficiency of high-strength nitrogen wastewater. Results indicated that gravel-slag-wood chips extended aerobic/anaerobic alternating environment to gravel and slag zones and maintained anaerobic condition in the subsequent wood chip section. The order of gravel-slag-wood chip was more beneficial to pollutant removal. Sufficient carbon source supply resulted from wood-chip-framework substrate simultaneously obtained high removals of COD (97%), NH4 +-N (95%), and TN (94%) in BSFCWs at 2 h aeration per day. The results suggest that intermittent aeration combined with wood chips could achieve high nitrogen removal in BSFCWs.

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This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41401548), Open Project of State Key Laboratory of Urban Water Resource and Environment, Harbin Institute of Technology (Nos. ES201510, HC201622), and Jilin Provincial Research Foundation for Basic Research, China (No. 20150520151JH).

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Correspondence to Zifang Chi or Jianzheng Li.

Additional information


1. Intermittent aeration combined with wood chips could achieve high nitrogen removal.

2. The order of gravel-slag-wood chips extended aerobic/anaerobic alternating environment.

3. Wood chips provided internal carbon source for denitrifying bacteria.

4. High COD, NH4 +-N, and TN removal was simultaneously achieved via 2 h aeration per day.

Responsible editor: Philippe Garrigues

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Li, H., Chi, Z., Yan, B. et al. Nitrogen removal in wood chip combined substrate baffled subsurface-flow constructed wetlands: impact of matrix arrangement and intermittent aeration. Environ Sci Pollut Res 24, 5032–5038 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-016-8227-3

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  • Wood chip
  • Matrix arrangement
  • Intermittent aeration
  • Nitrogen removal
  • Baffled constructed wetlands