Phosphorus removal by apatite in horizontal flow constructed wetlands for small communities: pilot and full-scale evidence

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Phosphorus (P) removals in constructed wetlands (CWs) have received particular attention in recent decades by using specific materials which promote adsorption/precipitation mechanisms. Recent studies have shown interest in using apatite materials to promote P precipitation onto the particle surface. As previous trials were mainly done by lab experiments, this present study aims to evaluate the real potential of apatites to remove P from wastewater in pilot units and a full-scale plant over a 2 year period. P retention kinetics of two qualities of apatites are presented and discussed. In this work apatite appears to have high retention capacity (>80% of P removal) and is still an interesting way for P removal in CWs for limiting the risk of eutrophication downstream of small communities. Nevertheless, the apatite quality appears to be of great importance for a reliable and long term P removal. The use of materials with low content of apatite mineral (40–50%) seems to be not economically relevant.

Keywords: apatite, horizontal flow constructed wetland, kinetics, phosphorus

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