Phosphorus removal from wastewater has been of growing interest for some decades to avoid eutrophication in surface water. In subsurface constructed wetlands precipitation and adsorption are the main mechanisms responsible for P uptake. Two media (calcite and recycled crushed concrete (RCC)) were examined in batch and continuous systems. Batch experiments show attractive sorption capacities, however experiments carried out in open reactors pointed out some limitation in retention capacities and effluent quality. RCC is sensitive to a strong dissolution leading to a quick phosphorus precipitation but induces high conductivity and pH values in the treated water. Calcite efficiency depends on the carbonate equilibrium of the solution. Microscopic observations of the calcite surface show crystal growth of phosphorus precipitate. Crystallisation seems to be the main P uptake once a material's surface is covered.
Phosphorus retention in subsurface constructed wetlands: investigations focused on calcareous materials and their chemical reactions
P. Molle, A. Liénard, A. Grasmick, A. Iwema; Phosphorus retention in subsurface constructed wetlands: investigations focused on calcareous materials and their chemical reactions. Water Sci Technol 1 September 2003; 48 (5): 75–83. doi: https://doi.org/10.2166/wst.2003.0285
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