The treatment performance of a maturation pond (MP), the typical final polishing stage of an Advanced Pond System (APS), is compared with that of a surface-flow constructed wetland (CW) over 19 months. Both received ∼67 mm d−1 of wastewater after passage through upstream stages of the APS. The MP, with greater sunlight exposure, had higher algal biomass (and associated suspended solids) than the CW, showed higher dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations and greater diurnal variation in DO and pH. Neither polishing stages reduced nutrients markedly, with the CW exporting slightly more NH3-N and DRP, and less NO3-N than the MP. Disinfection was more efficient in the MP (geometric mean 1 log load removal, 12 MPN (100 ml)−1) compared to the CW (0.47 log load removal, 53 MPN (100 ml)−1). Incorporation of a final rock filter (28% of area) reduced median solids levels to <10 g m−3 in both the MP and CW. A hybrid between MPs and CWs with alternating zones of open-water (for enhanced disinfection and zooplankton grazing of algal solids) and wetland vegetation (promoting sedimentation and denitrification, and providing refugia for zooplankton) may provide more consistent effluent quality that either stage alone.

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