There is a growing interest in the possibilities offered by combinations of waste stabilisation ponds (WSP) and constructed wetlands (CW). The purpose of our study was to compare treatment performances and nutrient cycling in a surface-flow wetland (SFW) and in a WSP treating secondary effluent. In the period between 2000 and 2003, a pilot SFW and a pilot WSP were constructed at the outlet of the wastewater treatment plant and their performance monitored while both were active under the same conditions. The SFW was planted with Phragmites australis and Eichhornia crassipes, while in the WSP development of algae was spontaneous. Performance efficiency was monitored by means of evaluation of physical and chemical parameters in water, by measurement of plant productivity and by analysis of N and P contents in biomass. The SFW with macrophytes proved more efficient in decreasing the suspended solids (64.6%), settleable solids (91.8%), organic N (59.3%), total N (38%), COD (67.2%) and BOD5 (72.1%) than the WSP. The WSP with algae was more efficient in treatment of ammonia nitrogen (48.9%) and ortho-phosphate (43.9%). The results of this study provide data that are of help in optimising combinations of SFW and WSP.

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