An investigation into the effectiveness of sand media amended with biochar to remove BOD5, suspended solids and coliforms using wetland mesocosms
Constructed wetland ecotechnologies (CWEs) are a promising solution to effectively treat domestic wastewater in developing countries at low cost. This paper reports the findings of the effectiveness of sand media amended with woody biochar and two plants species (Melaleuca quinquenervia and Cymbopogon citratus) in removing biological oxygen demand (BOD5), suspended solids and coliforms. The experimental design consisted of 21 vertical flow (VF) mesocosms. There were seven media treatments using sand amended with varying proportions of biochar. During the first 8 months, the mesocosms were loaded with secondary clarified wastewater (SCW) then septage. The influent had a 4-day hydraulic retention time. Samples were monitored for BOD5, total suspended solids (TSS), total volatile solids (TVS), total coliforms and faecal coliforms. In the first 8 months, there were no significant performance differences between media treatments in the outflow concentrations of BOD5, TSS and TVS. The significant differences occurred during the last 3 months; using septage with biochar additions performed better than pure sand. For coliforms, the significant differences occurred after 6 months. In conclusion, the addition of biochar was not effective for SCW. The VF mesocosms system proved to be more effective in removing BOD5, TSS, TVS and coliforms when septage was loaded into the media.
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