The results of a 20-month period study in Brazil were analyzed to compare horizontal-flow constructed wetlands (CW) and waste stabilization pond (WSP) systems in terms of land area requirements and performance to produce effluent qualities for surface water discharge, and for wastewater use in agriculture and/or aquaculture. Nitrogen, E. coli and helminth eggs were more effectively removed in WSP than in CW. It is indicated that CW and WSP require similar land areas to achieve a bacteriological effluent quality suitable for unrestricted irrigation (103E. coli per 100 mL), but CW would require 2.6 times more land area than ponds to achieve quite relaxed ammonia effluent discharge standards (20 mg NH3 L−1), and, by far, more land than WSP to produce an effluent complying with the WHO helminth guideline for agricultural use (≤1 egg per litre).
Keywords: BOD, E. coli, helminths, land requirement, nutrients