A pulse feed vertical flow constructed wetland (VFCW) proved to be efficient in the treatment of a textile effluent being able to buffer, dilute and treat an Acid Orange (AO7) accidental discharge. The influence of the flooding level (FL) and pulse feed (PF) duration on the removal efficiencies of a VFCW was examined. Average AO7 removal efficiencies of 70% were achieved for an AO7 Inlet concentration of 700 mg l−1 applied during 15 min cycle−1 (every three hours) at a hydraulic load of 13 l m−2 cycle−1 and an FL of 21%. The VFCW was modelled by analogy with a combination of ideal reactors. The simplest combination that best reproduced the experimental results was an association of 2 reactors in series plus 1 reactor accounting the dead volumes. The model parameters helped to understand the hydrological and kinetic processes occurring in VFCW. Through the model simulation it was shown that 3 VFCW in series were enough to efficiently treat an organic mass load of 76 gAO7 m−2 day−1 in 9 hours and fulfil the discharge legislation. In this work it was possible to establish that the overall degradation kinetics was of first order.

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