This study was to investigate domestic treatment efficiency of a subsurface wastewater infiltration (SWI) system over time. The performances of a young SWI system (in Shenyang University, China, fully operated for one year) and a mature SWI system (in Shenyang Normal University, China, fully operated for seven years) under the same operation mode were contrasted through field-scale experiments for one year. The performance assessment for these systems is based on physical and chemical parameters collected. The removal efficiencies within the young system were relatively high if compared with the mature one: for biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), chemical oxygen demand (COD), suspended solids (SS), ammonia nitrogen (NH3-N) and total phosphorus (TP) were 95.0, 89.1, 98.1, 87.6 and 98.4%, respectively. However, the removal efficiencies decreased over time. The mean removal efficiencies for the mature SWI system were as follows: BOD (89.6%), COD (87.2%), SS (82.6%), NH3-N (69.1%) and TP (74.4%). The results indicate that the mature SWI system successfully removed traditional pollutants such as BOD from domestic wastewater. However, the nutrient reduction efficiencies (including NH3-N and TP) decreased after seven years of operation of the mature SWI system. Meanwhile, the SWI system did not decrease the receiving surface water quality.
Keywords: domestic sewage, subsurface wastewater infiltration, surface water pollution, treatment efficiency