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Wetlands Ecology and Management

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 199–206 | Cite as

Subsurface horizontal-flow constructed wetlands for wastewater treatment: The Czech experience

  • Jan Vymazal
Article

Abstract

The first full-scale constructed wetland (CW) in the Czech Republic was built in 1989 and there are now three tertiary systems and 50 secondary treatment facilities. We report here on the design and operational efficiencies of these facilities. All CWs have been designed with horizontal subsurface flow. Coarse sand, gravel and crushed stones with size fraction of 4–16 mm are commonly used as substrates. The area of vegetated beds ranges between 18 and 4500 m2 and operational CWs are designed for population equivalent (PE) of 4 to 1,100. Common reed (Phragmites australis) is the most frequently used macrophyte species.

Results from systems studied during 1994 and 1995 show that the effluent concentrations of organics and suspended solids (SS) are well below the required discharge limits. In most cases the final effluent BOD5 concentration is <10 mg l−1. The relationship between vegetated bed BOD5 inflow loadings (L0) and outflow loadings (L) is very strong (r=0.92). Constructed wetlands with subsurface horizontal flow usually do not remove larger amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus. The results from five Czech constructed wetlands show that nitrogen removal varies among systems, but the amount of removed nitrogen is very predictable. A regression equation between nitrogen inflow loading (L0) and outflow loading (L) produces a strong correlation (r=0.98). The most important process responsible for phosphorus removal in wetlands is precipitation with soil Ca, Fe and Al. However, the subsurface horizontal flow constructed wetlands use mostly coarse gravel and/or sandy materials and this provides little or no P precipitation. Results from monitored systems in the Czech Republic show that the percentage phosphorus removal varies widely among systems and is lower than the percentage removal of organics and suspended solids.

Keywords

constructed wetlands wastewater macrophytes nitrogen phosphorus 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Vymazal
    • 1
  1. 1.Ecology and Use of WetlandsPrague 6Czech Republic

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