Wetlands for Industrial Wastewater Treatment at the Savannah River Site

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Courtesy of Weston Solutions, Inc

The A-01 effluent outfall, which collects both normal daily process flow and stormwater runoff from a industrial research facility, did not meet the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit limits for metals, toxicity, and total residual chlorine at the outfall sampling point. Copper was the constituent of primary concern and the effluent consistently failed to meet that NPDES limit. Installation of a constructed wetland system including a basin to manage stormwater surges was required to reduce the problematic constituent concentrations to below the NPDES permit limits before the effluent reaches the discharge point.

Both bench-scale and on-site pilot scale physical models were constructed to refine and optimize the preliminary design as well as demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach prior to construction, which was completed in October 2000. The constructed treatment wetlands system has proven its ability to treat industrial wastewaters containing metals with low O&M costs since there are no power or chemical requirements as well as no disposal costs associated with the removed constituents. With an anticipated life of over 50 years, this system is exceptionally cost effective.

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