Design-support and performance estimation using HYDRUS/CW2D: a horizontal flow constructed wetland for polishing SBR effluent

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The 4,000 PE (700 m3/d) wastewater treatment plant at Balf, Hungary was based on sequencing batch reactor technology with phosphorus precipitation as the tertiary step. Its effluent met quality thresholds on average, with above-threshold peaks mainly in winter. The HYDRUS/CW2D model package (PC Progress s.r.o.) was used to simulate the treatment performance of a horizontal flow constructed wetland for polishing effluent. The goal of this study was to provide design-supportive information about the suitability of the proposed wetland and to prove the applicability of the computational tool used to gain that information. The simulations showed that the wetland with the proposed layout could not tackle peaks in NH4-N. Other effluent thresholds could be met, including chemical oxygen demand (COD), biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5), total nitrogen, total inorganic nitrogen and total phosphorus. The tool was unable to simulate COD and BOD5 removal in periods when the electron acceptors were depleted because anaerobic processes are not modelled. Using a tool of such complexity for designing carries excessive work demands and involves many uncertainties. The simulation study highlighted that the model used could still facilitate the design of an effective system by showing the weaknesses of a test scenario as it was demonstrated.

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