Experimental study of a novel hybrid constructed wetland for water reuse and its application in Southern China

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A new type of hybrid constructed wetland (CW), consisting of both vertical-baffled flow wetland (VBFW) and horizontal subsurface flow wetland (HSFW), has been deployed in Southern China to naturally accelerate the removal of organic matter and nitrogen. The hybrid CW system is characterised by a combination of continuous baffled flow vertical wetland and ‘S’ pattern horizontal subsurface flow wetland with natural aeration ditches to increase the concentration of dissolved oxygen in the HSFW bed. An internal circulatory system from the HSFW effluent back to the VBFW may optionally be operated to enhance the biological denitrification effect. Cyperus alternifolius is the main macrophyte in the wetland bed. The performance of the hybrid CW was studied with a pilot-scale system and three full-scale systems for municipal sewage treatment in Southern China. The results suggest that this new hybrid CW can achieve removal efficiencies of chemical oxygen demand, suspended solids, ammonia nitrogen, total nitrogen, and total phosphorus of better than 83.6, 95.0, 71.7, 64.5 and 68.1% respectively, with a specific wetland bed area of 0.70–0.93 m2 PE−1. The mean effluent concentrations of these parameters would meet the regulatory discharge limits for wastewater treatment systems (GB18918, 2002) and reuse in the context of agricultural irrigation solutions in China.

Keywords: hybrid constructed wetland, low-cost sewage treatment, nutrient removal, water reuse

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