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Removal of Solids and Oxygen Demand from Aquaculture Wastewater with a Constructed Wetland System in the Start-Up Phase

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A pilot-scale, constructed wetland system consisting of a free water surface (FWS) and a subsurface flow (SF) wetland operated in series was set up for treating aquaculture farm wastewater. This study examined the system start-up phenomena and evaluated its performance in removing suspended solids, algae, and chemical oxygen demand (COD) under various hydraulic loading rates (1.8 to13.5 cm/d). The SF wetland achieved stable effluent qualities without an adaptation period, while the FWS wetland required approximately 5 months to reach consistent removal levels for suspended solids and algae. Macrophyte density was a critical factor affecting the reduction of suspended solids and chlorophyll for the FWS wetland, but not for the SF wetland. Suspended solids removals in both of the wetlands and the combined system (47 to 86%) decreased significantly as the hydraulic loading rate increased, strongly following the first-order mass-decrease equation. Phytoplankton solids (biomass and detritus) were a primary source of suspended solids in the aquaculture wastewater. Both chlorophyll reduction (76 to 95%) and COD removal (25 to 55%) in the constructed wetland system were apparently not affected by hydraulic loading. While algae died out because of limited sunlight in both wetlands, algae detritus probably still contributed fine particles that were difficult to remove from the water by either filtering or settling out. Removed suspended solids did not result in the increase of COD and nutrients, indicating that further solids stabilization occurred in the wetland system.
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Keywords: ALGAE; AQUACULTURE WASTEWATER; CONSTRUCTED WETLANDS; OXYGEN DEMAND; SUSPENDED SOLIDS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-03-01

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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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