Applying solubilization treatment to reverse clogging in laboratory-scale vertical flow constructed wetlands

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Substrate clogging is characterized as a frequently occurring operational problem for subsurface-flow constructed wetlands. The application of solubilization treatment to reduce clogging was tested in lab-scaled setups to provide a promising solution. The performance of solubilization treatment on reducing clogging and the related effects on plants and biofilms in the wetland system were investigated in this paper. The results showed that the infiltration rate and available porosity of wetland substrate increased as a function of increased dosage of NaOH, HCl, NaClO, and detergent, respectively. Among the four solvents, it appeared that NaClO had the most obvious effects on reducing clogging and the infiltration rate and effective porosity recovered to 69% of the original condition. The two possible reasons for solubilization were the flocculents' structure of the clogs was broken up or parts of the organic clogs were dissolved. The function of adding NaOH and NaClO was to dissolve the protein and polysaccharides of the organic clogs; the function of adding HCl was to release the anaerobic gas wrapped in the organic clogs. Furthermore, experiments results also showed that the solubilized solvents did not demonstrate a long-term negative effect on plants and biofilms.

Keywords: clogging, constructed wetlands, restore cycle, solubilization treatment

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