With the aim of protecting drinking water sources in rural regions, pilot-scale subsurface water flow (SSF) and free water surface flow (FWS) constructed wetland systems were evaluated for removal efficiencies of nitrogenous pollutants in tertiary stage treated wastewaters (effluent from the Paşaköy biological nutrient removal plant). Five different hydraulic application rates and emergent (Canna, Cyperus, Typhia sp., Phragmites sp., Juncus, Poaceae, Paspalum and Iris) and floating (Pistia, Salvina and Lemna) plant species were assayed. The average annual NH4-N, NO3-N and organic-N treatment efficiencies were 81, 40 and 74% in SSFs and 76, 59 and 75% in FWSs, respectively. Two types of the models (first-order plug flow and multiple regression) were tried to estimate the system performances. Nitrification, denitrification and ammonification rate constants (k20) values in SSF and FWS systems were 0.898 d−1 and 0.541 d−1, 0.486 d−1 and 0.502 d−1, 0.986 d−1 and 0.908, respectively. Results show that the first-order plug flow model clearly estimates slightly higher or lower values than observed when compared with the other model.

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