Constructed wetland as a low cost and sustainable solution for wastewater treatment adapted to rural settlements: the Chorfech wastewater treatment pilot plant

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The paper presents the detailed design and some preliminary results obtained from a study regarding a wastewater treatment pilot plant (WWTPP), serving as a multistage constructed wetland (CW) located at the rural settlement of ‘Chorfech 24’ (Tunisia). The WWTPP implemented at Chorfech 24 is mainly designed as a demonstration of sustainable water management solutions (low-cost wastewater treatment), in order to prove the efficiency of these solutions working under real Tunisian conditions and ultimately allow the further spreading of the demonstrated techniques. The pilot activity also aims to help gain experience with the implemented techniques and to improve them when necessary to be recommended for wide application in rural settlements in Tunisia and similar situations worldwide. The selected WWTPP at Chorfech 24 (rural settlement of 50 houses counting 350 inhabitants) consists of one Imhoff tank for pre-treatment, and three stages in series: as first stage a horizontal subsurface flow CW system, as second stage a subsurface vertical flow CW system, and a third horizontal flow CW. The sludge of the Imhoff tank is treated in a sludge composting bed. The performances of the different components as well as the whole treatment system were presented based on 3 months monitoring. The results shown in this paper are related to carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus removal as well as to reduction of micro-organisms. The mean overall removal rates of the Chorfech WWTPP during the monitored period have been, respectively, equal to 97% for total suspended solids and biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5), 95% for chemical oxygen demand, 71% for total nitrogen and 82% for P-PO4. The removal of E. coli by the whole system is 2.5 log units.

Keywords: constructed wetland, low cost, rural settlement, sustainability, wastewater treatment

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