A novel constructed wetland system has been developed to treat sewage, evaporate water and recycle nutrients from single households at sites where effluent standards are stringent and soil infiltration is not possible. Main attributes of the willow wastewater cleaning facilities are that the systems have zero discharge, the willows evapotranspire the water, and nutrients can be recycled via the willow biomass produced in the system. The willow wastewater cleaning facilities generally consist of c. 1.5 m deep high-density polyethylene-lined basins filled with soil and planted with clones of willow (Salix viminalis L.). The surface area of the systems depends on the amount and quality of the sewage to be treated and the local annual rainfall. For a single household the area needed typically is between 200-300 m2. Settled sewage is dispersed underground into the bed under pressure. When correctly dimensioned, the willow will - on an annual basis - evapotranspire all water from the sewage and rain falling onto the system, and take up all nutrients and heavy metals from the sewage. The stems of the willows are harvested on a regular basis to remove nutrients and heavy metals and to stimulate the growth of the willows. Initial experiences from full-scale systems in Denmark show promising results.

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