Effect of plants in constructed wetlands for organic carbon and nutrient removal: a review of experimental factors contributing to higher impact and suggestions for future guidelines
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Constructed wetland is a proven technology for water pollution removal, but process mechanisms and their respective contribution are not fully understood. The present review details the effect of plants on removal efficiency of constructed wetlands by focusing on literature that includes experiments with unplanted controls for organic carbon and nutrient (N and P) removal. The contribution of plant direct uptake is also assessed. Although it was found that several studies, mostly at laboratory or pilot scales, showed no statistical differences between planted and unplanted controls, some factors were found that help maximize the effect of plants. This study intends to contribute to a better understanding of the significance of the effect of plants in a constructed wetland, as well as to suggest a set of experimental guidelines in this field.
KeywordsConstructed wetlands Impact of plants Performance comparison Plant uptake Experimental guidelines
The authors would like to acknowledge the Portuguese Science and Technology Foundation (FCT) for the PhD grant (FCT - DFRH - SFRH/BD/84750/2012).
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