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Distribution and Mobilization of Pollutants in the Sediment of a Constructed Floating Wetland Used for Treatment of Combined Sewer Overflow Events

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Sediments in combined sewer overflow treatment systems may exhibit elevated pollutant concentrations. Concentrations measured in the sediment of a floating treatment wetland ranged from 0.17 to 1.6 (cadmium), 28 to 142 (copper), 10 to 33 (chromium), 50 to 141 (manganese), 5 to 20 (nickel), 50 to 203 (lead), and 185 to 804 (zinc) mg/kg dry matter and 7.4 to 17 (iron), 2 to 8 (total nitrogen), and 1.3 to 4.4 (total phosphorus) g/kg dry matter. During overflow events, the entering water volumes can disturb the sediments. A greenhouse experiment was set up to evaluate the possible mobilization of pollutants through disturbation. The disturbation did not result in an increased mobilization of cadmium, copper, chromium, nickel, lead, zinc, nitrogen, phosphorus, and organic carbon towards the pore and surface water. Calcium concentrations in the surface water increased for all sediments, as a result of release from the exchangeable sediment pool and dissolution of carbonates. Geochemical speciation modeling indicated that, in the pore water, the free ion form was the most abundant for calcium, iron, manganese, cadmium, and nickel, with its fraction increasing with time.

Keywords: Visual MINTEQ; metals; mobility; nitrogen; phosphorus; stormwater; wastewater treatment

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2011-05-01

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  • 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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