Enhanced treatment of septic tank effluent can improve the hydraulic function and performance of infiltration systems and constructed wetlands. By intermittent spray application of septic tank effluent onto a coarse-grained filter media, an unsaturated flow regime beneficial for pathogen removal is created. A column filtration study showed an increase in PRD-1 removal by time of operation with corresponding biofilm accumulation in the filter material. The same increased removal was observed for 1 μm polystyrene beads, irrespective of their hydrophilic/hydrophobic surface properties. A control experiment with sorption of 1 μm hydrophobic and hydrophilic polystyrene beads to different glass surfaces with hydrophobic and hydrophilic properties indicate that mechanisms other than hydrophobic interactions may govern the rate of attachment to the filter media. For a given volumetric flow-rate in the columns, the presence of biofilm altered the hydrodynamic characteristics and this resulted in increased retention time and particle removal.

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