The results of heavy metals (Fe, Mn, Zn, Ni, Cu, Cr, Pb, Cd) removal and partitioning between aqueous and solid phases at two treatment wetlands (TWs) treating municipal landfill leachates are presented. One of the TWs is a surface flow facility consisting of 10 ponds. The other TW is a newly constructed pilot-scale facility consisting of three beds with alternately vertical and horizontal sub-surface flow. The metals concentrations were analysed in leachate (both TWs) and bottom sediments (surface flow TW). Very high (90.9–99.9%) removal rates of metals were observed in a mature surface flow TW. The effectiveness of metals removal in a newly constructed pilot-scale sub-surface flow wetland were considerably lower (range 0–73%). This is attributed to young age of the TW, different hydraulic conditions (sub-surface flow system with much shorter retention time, unoxic conditions) and presence of metallic complexes with refractory organic matter.
Keywords: organo-metallic complexes, partitioning, precipitation, redox conditions