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Seasonal Performance of an Outdoor Constructed Wetland for Graywater Treatment in a Temperate Climate

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The seasonal treatment efficiency of a pilot-scale constructed wetland system located outdoors in a semi-arid, temperate climate was evaluated for graywater in a comprehensive, 1-year study. The system consisted of two wetland beds in series—a free water surface bed followed by a subsurface flow bed. Water quality monitoring evaluated organics, solids, nutrients, microbials, and surfactants. The results showed that the wetland substantially reduced graywater constituents during fall, spring, and summer, including biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) (92%), total nitrogen (85%), total phosphorus (78%), total suspended solids (TSS) (73%), linear alkylbenzene sulfonate (LAS) surfactants (94%), and E. coli (1.7 orders of magnitude). Except for TSS, lower removals of graywater constituents were noted in winter—BOD (78%), total nitrogen (64%), total phosphorus (65%), LAS (87%), and E. coli (1.0 order), indicating that, although wetland treatment slowed during the winter, the system remained active, even when the average water temperature was 5.2 ± 4.5°C.

Keywords: constructed wetland; free water surface; graywater; submerged flow; surfactants

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado

Publication date: December 1, 2011

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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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