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Uprating and rescuing small wastewater treatment facilities by adding tertiary treatment reed beds

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A water utility developed use of gravel-filled constructed reed beds operating in a subsurface flow mode to polish secondary effluent to meet demanding standards for 5-day biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5) and total suspended solids. Results collected by the regulatory environmental agency (EA) for 43 sites completed before the end of 1993 are given. The average BOD5 concentration was 1.9 mg/L. The benefit of effluent polishing is further demonstrated by influent and effluent data from two sites that have operated since June 1990 and September 1991, respectively. Environmental agency effluent quality data are also given for 39 sites at which reed beds either treat stormwater and secondary effluent together or have been installed as remedial treatment for works struggling to meet secondary treatment standards. The average BOD5 concentration for these sites was 3.0 mg/L. Remedial, or treatment plant rescue, application is illustrated by four contrasting case studies where constructed reed beds brought facilities back into compliance.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 1998-11-01

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  • Water Environment Research (WER) is published monthly, including an annual Literature Review. A subscription to WER includes access to the latest content back to 1992, as well as access to fast track articles. An individual subscription is valid for 12 months from month of purchase.

    Water Environment Research (WER) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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