Performance of a pilot showcase of different wetland systems in an urban setting in Singapore

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

The Alexandra Wetlands, part of PUB's Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters (ABC Waters) Programme, showcase a surface flow wetland, an aquatic pond and a sub-surface flow wetland on a 200 m deck built over an urban drainage canal. Water from the canal is pumped to a sedimentation basin, before flowing in parallel to the three wetlands. Water quality monitoring was carried out monthly from April 2011 to December 2012. The order of removal efficiency is sub-surface flow (81.3%) >aquatic pond (58.5%) >surface flow (50.7%) for total suspended solids (TSS); sub-surface (44.9%) >surface flow (31.9%) >aquatic pond (22.0%) for total nitrogen (TN); and surface flow (56.7%) >aquatic pond (39.8%) >sub-surface flow (5.4%) for total phosphorus (TP). All three wetlands achieved the Singapore stormwater treatment objectives (STO) for TP removal, but only the sub-surface flow wetland met the STO for TSS, and none met the STO for TN. Challenges in achieving satisfactory performance include inconsistent feed water quality, undesirable behaviour such as fishing, release of pets and feeding of animals in the wetlands, and canal dredging during part of the monitoring period. As a pilot showcase, the Alexandra Wetlands provide useful lessons for implementing multi-objective wetlands in an urban setting.

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