This paper outlines the influence of temperature, flow rate and input concentrations on the treatment efficiency of organic matter and nutrients in constructed wetlands (CWs). Three integrated 10 PE systems with horizontal subsurface flow (HSF) treating domestic wastewater are described. Particular attention is devoted to: (1) aerobic pre-treatment in vertical-flow filters, (2) filter media with high phosphorus (P) sorption capacity, and (3) the treatment efficiency during winters. Aerobic pre-treatment followed by CW units including P sorption media removed most organic matter (BOD> 75%), P (> 90%) and total and ammonia N (40-80%). P retention was relatively stable in wetland filters, both with lightweight aggregates and ferruginous sand during 3-6 years of monitoring. Iron-rich sand from Bsh and Bs horizons of ferro-humic podzols was efficient for P sorption, but removal efficiencies of COD, TOC and SS were negative. The differences in efficiency between cold and warm periods were less than 10 percentage points for all parameters. It is anticipated that temperature effects are partially compensated by the large hydraulic retention time. The findings suggest that HSF systems do not require vegetation.

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