Special Section on Wastewater Re-use

Effectiveness of vegetation on phosphorus removal from reclaimed water by a subsurface flow wetland in a coastal area

Baoqing Shan , Liang Ao , Chunming Hu , Jiayu Song


Received October 31, 2010,Revised March 17, 2011, Accepted , Available online

Volume 23,2011,Pages 1594-1599

This work was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness and influence factors of vegetation on phosphorus (P) removal from reclaimed water in constructed wetlands. Comparisons were conducted between one pilot scale subsurface flow wetland (P-SSFW) and two demonstration subsurface flow wetlands, which were series-wound and named as first subsurface flow wetland (F-SSFW), and second subsurface flow wetland (S-SSFW), respectively. The three wetlands had the same vegetation and substrate, but different pH values, total dissolved solids (TDS) and P loads. Results showed that the P content in the vegetation shoots of the F-SSFW was 2.16 mg/g, while 2.31 mg/g in the S-SSFW and 2.69 mg/g in the P-SSFW. These differences were likely caused by the higher pH and TDS in the reclaimed water. The P content also differed among the tissues of the plant, which were 5.94-6.44 mg/g, 2.20-2.77 mg/g, 1.31-1.46 mg/g and 1.53-1.88 mg/g in the flowers, leaves, stems, and roots, respectively. The greatest discrepancy was observed in the leaves, indicating that the environment of the wetlands had the greatest influence on the leaves. When the total phosphorus (TP) load was lower, the proportion of P removed by vegetation assimilation was 16.17% in the P-SSFW, 12.90% in the F-SSFW and 13.29% in the S-SSFW. However, the relative removal efficiency by vegetation among the three wetlands did not vary greatly from that observed in other studies. Moreover, the influence of pH, TDS and TP load was not as great as the influence of the vegetation species, type of substrate, influent style or climate.

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