Horizontal subsurface flow constructed wetlands have proven their efficiency in treating wastewater and removing the pollutants of concern. Treatment efficiency depends on the wastewater residence time, which is a function of the hydraulic loading and the physical conditions of the constructed filter system, which can be described with effective parameters such as: hydraulic conductivity, porosity, dispersivity etc. Because spatial variability is often scale dependent, these effective parameters may be affected by the scale of the system being studied. In this paper the results of tracer experiments in constructed filters using saturated horizontal flow at three scales (small and medium lab scales and full-scale system) using the same filter media is reported. Light-weight aggregate (filter media termed Filtralite-PTM) was used at all scales. Increasing the scale was associated with increasing dispersivity, meanwhile hydraulic conductivity experienced dramatic reduction and variation by increasing the examined scale. Observed changes in the hydraulic parameters indicate that heterogeneity at different scales should be taken into account when the performance of LWA filters are evaluated from small-scale experiments.

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