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A Finite Element Approach to Modelling the Hydrological Regime in Horizontal Subsurface Flow Constructed Wetlands for Wastewater Treatment

Abstract

A Finite Element Analysis (FEA) model is used to explore the relationship between clogging and hydraulics that occurs in Horizontal Subsurface Flow Treatment Wetlands (HSSF TWs) in the United Kingdom (UK). Clogging is assumed to be caused by particle transport and an existing single collector efficiency model is implemented to describe this behaviour. The flow model was validated against HSSF TW survey results obtained from the literature. The model successfully simulated the influence of overland flow on hydrodynamics, and the interaction between vertical flow through the low permeability surface layer and the horizontal flow of the saturated water table. The clogging model described the development of clogging within the system but under-predicted the extent of clogging which occurred over 15 years. This is because important clogging mechanisms were not considered by the model, such as biomass growth and vegetation establishment. The model showed the usefulness of FEA for linking hydraulic and clogging phenomenon in HSSF TWs and could be extended to include treatment processes.

Keywords

  • Clogging
  • Horizontal subsurface flow
  • Modelling
  • Suspended solids
  • Hydraulics

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Acknowledgements

This work was made possible thanks to joint funding from Severn Trent Water Plc. (UK) and a CASE studentship granted by the ESPRC UK (ref. CASE/CNA/06/28). The authors gratefully acknowledge the collaboration of Dr. Paul Griffin from Severn Trent Water Plc.

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Correspondence to Paul R. Knowles .

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Knowles, P.R., Davies, P.A. (2010). A Finite Element Approach to Modelling the Hydrological Regime in Horizontal Subsurface Flow Constructed Wetlands for Wastewater Treatment. In: Vymazal, J. (eds) Water and Nutrient Management in Natural and Constructed Wetlands. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-90-481-9585-5_8

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