The enhancement of water quality by constructed wetland systems is increasingly being employed throughout the world. For this study two treatment schemes consisting of an Up-flow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket (UASB) reactor followed by either subsurface flow (SSF) or free surface flow (FSF) constructed wetlands have been investigated. The common macrophyte in Egypt Typha latifolia (cattail) was used at a planting density of three rhizomes/m2. To evaluate the role of plants in the treatment process, an unplanted gravel bed identical to the SSF unit was operated as control. During the study period, the wetlands were fed with the UASB effluent at an organic loading rate ranging from 17.3 to 46.8 kg BOD5/ha·d (55.1 to 134.6 kgCOD/ha·d). Effectiveness of the system for the removal of key constituents (COD, BOD, TSS, nutrients and FC) has been investigated. The results showed that, the level of CODtot, and TSS in the final effluent of SSF was lower than that of FWS. Subsurface flow wetland has demonstrated higher overall efficiency than the unplanted control. FC reduction reached 4 log units. Further studies are on-going to optimize the wetland design under local environmental conditions.

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