Treatment performance of a constructed wetland during storm and non-storm events in Korea

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The efficiency of a free water surface flow constructed wetland (CW) in treating agricultural discharges from stream was investigated during storm and non-storm events between April and December, 2009. Physico-chemical and water quality constituents were monitored at five sampling locations along the flow path of the CW. The greatest reduction in pollutant concentration was observed after passing the sedimentation zone at approximately 4% fractional distance from the inflow. The inflow hydraulic loading, flow rates and pollutant concentrations were significantly higher and variable during storm events than non-storm (baseflow) condition (p <0.001) that resulted to an increase in the average pollutant removal efficiencies by 10 to 35%. The highest removal percentages were attained for phosphate (51 ± 22%), ammonium (44 ± 21%) and phosphorus (38 ± 19%) while nitrate was least effectively retained by the system with only 25 ± 17% removal during non-storm events. The efficiency of the system was most favorable when the temperature was above 15 °C (i.e., almost year-round except the winter months) and during storm events. Overall, the outflow water quality was better than the inflow water quality signifying the potential of the constructed wetland as a treatment system and capability of improving the stream water quality.

Keywords: agricultural, free water surface flow constructed wetland, non-point source, temperature, treatment performance, water quality

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