Comparison between polishing (maturation) ponds and subsurface flow constructed wetlands (planted and unplanted) for the post-treatment of the effluent from UASB reactors

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This paper presents the results of a comparison of the performance of two treatment systems operating in parallel, with the same influent wastewater. The investigated systems are (i) UASB + three polishing ponds in series + coarse filter (200 population equivalents) and (ii) UASB + subsurface flow constructed wetlands (50 population equivalents). Two wetland units, operating in parallel, were analysed, being one planted (Typha latifolia) and the other unplanted. The systems were located in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The wetland systems showed to be more efficient in the removal of organic matter and suspended solids, leading to good effluent BOD and COD concentrations and excellent SS concentrations. The planted wetland performed better than the unplanted unit, but the latter was also able to provide a good effluent quality. The polishing pond system was more efficient in the removal of nitrogen (ammonia) and coliforms (E. coli). Land requirements and cost considerations are presented.

Keywords: constructed wetlands, polishing ponds, UASB reactors, urban wastewater

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