Domestic wastewater is a significant source of nitrogen and phosphorus, which cause lake eutrophication. Among the wastewater treatment technologies, constructed wetlands are a promising low-cost means of treating point and diffuse sources of domestic wastewater in rural areas. However, the sustainable operation of constructed wetland treatment systems depends upon a high rate conversion of organic and nitrogenous loading into their metabolic gaseous end products, such as N2O and CH4. In this study, we examined and compared the performance of three typical types of constructed wetlands: Free Water Surface (FWS), Subsurface Flow (SF) and Vertical Flow (VF) wetlands. Pollutant removal efficiency and N2O and CH4 emissions were assessed as measures of performance. We found that the pollutant removal rates and gas emissions measured in the wetlands exhibited clear seasonal changes, and these changes were closely associated with plant growth. VF wetlands exhibited stable removal of organic pollutants and NH3-N throughout the experiment regardless of season and showed great potential for CH4 adsorption. SF wetlands showed preferable T-N removal performance and a lower risk of greenhouse gas emissions than FWS wetlands. Soil oxidation reduction potential (ORP) analysis revealed that water flow structure and plant growth influenced constructed wetland oxygen transfer, and these variations resulted in seasonal changes of ORP distribution inside wetlands that were accompanied by fluctuations in pollutant removal and greenhouse gas emissions.

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