The paper presents a design for nitrogen removal in subsurface flow wetlands. The nitrification in the vertical-flow beds (VFBs) is clearly determined by the oxygen balance in the filter. Full nitrification can only be achieved when the oxygen balance is positive. For sizing purposes equations for the calculation of oxygen demand and oxygen input are given. Three possibilities to achieve sufficient soil aeration are presented and explained.
For the denitrification two possibilities are presented. From technical wastewater treatment plants predenitrification is well known. Return rates up to 200% can be used without hydraulic problems for the VFBs. In cases of low C/N ratios an additional application of HFBs has to be used. The design can be carried out using a design of 1 g NO3-N/m2,d achieving a 65% removal in more than 90% of the cases.
The paper discusses some of the equations presented internationally. The suitability of the use of k-values for the processes nitrification and denitrification is especially questioned.