Comparison of floating-bed wetland and gravel filter amended with limestone and sawdust for sewage treatment

  • Fahim Raana Email author
  • Xiwu LuEmail author
  • Ghulam Jilani
  • Javid Hussain
  • Ittehad Hussain
Research Article


Advancements in the design and technology of constructed wetlands for efficient removal of wastewater contaminants are ever in progress to develop situation-based economical systems. Here, we entrenched two horizontal sub-surface flow constructed wetlands (HSFCW) with either chemical, viz. limestone (HSFCW-LS) or organic, viz. sawdust (HSFCW-SD) substrates, and compared them with biological method, viz. growing of water spinach in floating-bed-constructed wetland (FBCW-WS) to enhance the performance of CWs. Same sewage wastewater was used as influent in each fortified CW replicated thrice. Sewage was replaced weekly, for a total of 12 weeks of experimentation. Sampling of raw sewage from influent was undertaken at the inlet in the beginning, and that of treated effluent from the outlet after a week of treatments. Quality of raw sewage used weekly during experimentation remained almost uniform and near to the wastewater standards. Cumulative data of treated wastewater depicted that the FBCW-WS achieved the highest performance in the removal of total nitrogen (TN), \( {\mathrm{NH}}_4^{+} \)–N, and total phosphorus (TP) with average removal efficiencies of 75.9, 90.5, and 94.3%, respectively. Whereas, HSFCW-SD performed better for \( {\mathrm{NO}}_3^{-} \)–N, FC, and TSS with corresponding removal efficiency of 77.5, 64.3, and 74.2% while HSFCW-LS showed average performance. This study concludes that performance of biological method of macrophyte cultivation (FBCW-WS) is significantly superior to chemical and organic substrates, so it could be more effective, economical, and sustainable approach for sewage treatment.


Ipomoea aquatica Horizontal sub-surface flow Divergent substrates Nutrients removal efficiency Fecal coliform reduction Nitrification-denitrification 



The principal author is grateful to the government of the Peoples Republic of China for financing her postgraduate studies in the SEU, Nanjing.

Authors’ contribution

Raana Fahim and Xiwu Lu designed and conceived this project and arranged the experiment materials and analysis instruments. Raana Fahim performed experimental and analysis work, while Xiwu Lu supervised during the study. All authors have equal contribution in the data processing and write-up of this manuscript.

Funding information

This study is funded under the project “Major Science & Technology Projects of Water Pollution Control and Management in the Peoples Republic of China” through grant number 2017ZX07202004-002.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Data availability statement

The data (chemical analysis of sewage influent and effluent) used to support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author XIWU LU and principal author RAANA FAHIM upon request.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental Science & Engineering, School of Energy and EnvironmentSoutheast UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.Institute of Soil SciencePMAS Arid Agriculture University RawalpindiRawalpindiPakistan
  3. 3.Department of Environmental Science & Engineering, Faculty of Life Sciences and InformaticsBalochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering & Management SciencesQuettaPakistan

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