Experiments were conducted to investigate the feasibility of applying constructed wetlands (CW) to treat a sanitary landfill leachate containing high nitrogen (TN) and bacterial contents. Under the tropical conditions (temperature of about 30 °C), the CW units operating at a hydraulic retention time (HRT) of 8 days yielded the best treatment efficiencies with BOD5 removal of 91%, TN removal of 96%, total and fecal coliforms (TC and FC) removal of more than 99%. Cadmium removal in the in the SFCW bed was found to be 99.7%. Mass balance analysis, based on TN contents of the plant biomass and dissolved oxygen (DO) and oxidation - reduction potential (ORP) values, suggested that 88% of the input TN were uptaken by the plant biomass. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) results revealed the predominance of bacteria including the heterotrophic and autotrophic bacteria responsible for BOD5 removal. Nitrifying bacteria was not found to be present in the SSFCW beds.

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