Subsurface-flow constructed wetlands (CWs) wastewater treatment typically results in satisfactory organics removal. However, the removal of nutrients, particularly nitrogen, is often unreliable, and typically less than desired, and nitrogen transformations in wetlands systems are not
well-understood. The principal objective of this study was to establish a basis for quantification of nitrogen transformations through subsurface flow CW systems. Actual performance data from a full-scale facility located near Lincoln, Nebraska, were used to calibrate a proposed nitrogen transformations
model, which, in turn, was used to replicate and predict the wetlands performance. To realize this objective, a compartmental analysis technique, which uses a set of differential equations and nonlinear optimization numerical methods, was used for solving nitrogen transformation rates and
for predicting wetland performance. The model satisfactorily reproduced the mean effluent concentrations for organic nitrogen, ammonium-nitrogen, and nitrate-nitrogen, but with lesser accuracy with respect to peak high and low effluent concentrations. Nitrogen mass balance in the wetland was
used to identify likely nitrogen transformation pathways. Generally, it was found that approximately one-third of the influent nitrogen mass was removed through nitrification and denitrification, one-third was removed through vegetative assimilation, and the remainder was discharged in the
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