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Response of Removal Rates to Various Organic Carbon and Ammonium Loads in Laboratory-Scale Constructed Wetlands Treating Artificial Wastewater

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High levels (92 and 91%) of organic carbon were successfully removed from artificial wastewater by a laboratory-scale constructed wetland under inflow loads of 670 mg/m2•d (100 mg/d) and 1600 mg/m2d (240 mg/d), respectively. Acidification to pH 3.0 was observed at the low organic carbon load, which further inhibited the denitrification process. An increase in carbon load, however, was associated with a significant elevation of pH to 6.0. In general, sulfate and nitrate reduction were relatively high, with mean levels of 87 and 90%, respectively. However, inhibition of nitrification was initiated with an increase in carbon loads. This effect was probably a result of competition for oxygen by heterotrophic bacteria and an inhibitory effect of sulfide (S2−) toxicity (concentration approximately 3 mg/L). In addition, numbers of healthy stalks of Juncus effusus (common rush) decreased from 14 000 to 10 000/m2 with an increase of sulfide concentration, indicating the negative effect of sulfide toxicity on the wetland plants.

Keywords: acidification; constructed wetland; denitrification; dissimilatory sulfate reduction; nitrification; sulfide toxicity

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: College of Engineering, China Agricultural University, 100083, Beijing, China. 2: Department of Environmental Biotechnology, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Leipzig, Germany.

Publication date: 2013-01-01

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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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