A mass balance method for assessing the potential of artificial wetlands for wastewater treatment

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Artificial wetlands have been shown to have potential for treating wastewaters. An experimental artificial wetland is described together with a mass balance method for quantifying system performance, major nutrient storage components and nutrient removal mechanisms. The experimental systems were capable of a high level of performance. Percentage load removals for chemical oxygen demand, total nitrogen and total phosphorus were 86, 95 and 99%, respectively. Plant biomass was found to be the major nutrient storage compartment with plant nutrient uptake being the major removal mechanism. It was found that overall system performance could be described by a simple first order, steady state model. System design and hydrology were considered important factors in determining treatment performance. Designs must maximize wastewater-rootzone contact. The experimental systems used an upflow hydraulic format to achieve this design objective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)689-697
Number of pages9
JournalWater Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • artificial wetland
  • chemical oxygen demand
  • emergent aquatic macrophyte
  • mass balance
  • nitrogen
  • nutrient removal
  • phosphorus
  • Typha orientalis
  • wastewater treatment

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