Reed beds were chosen to treat effluents from a coke plant in France (Usinor-Sollac, Fos/mer). The pilot is composed by a two-stage gravel bed with subsurface flow and Phragmites australis as plant. This experimental constructed wetland was monitored for one year at steady-state conditions. The composition of influent shows high concentrations of organic compounds. The hydraulic residence time was close to 10-12 days with a plug flow with longitudinal dispersion. Results show that global removal of nitrogen ranged from 54 to 94% of load removal efficiency, but corresponds easily to the regulation recommendations. Because of wintertime, the denitrification process was inhibited by aerobic conditions observed in the gravel bed with oxygen concentrations higher than 2-3 mg/L, and by small amounts of biodegradable carbon. The fate of mineral pollutants are linked to the complex ferric hydroxides balance and a lack of phosphorus was observed for reed plants, as this nutrient is dependent on iron compounds. Some necrosis was observed on plant tissues corresponding with anthocyanic pigments accumulation caused by phosphorus absorption deficiency due to its co-precipitation with iron.

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