Total phosphorus (TP) removal in aged constructed wetlands poses a challenge, especially when treated with swine wastewater with high concentrations of phosphorus (P). Our earlier studies with anaerobic lagoon swine wastewater treatment in constructed wetlands showed a decline in P removal (45–22%) with increased years of operation. These particular wetlands have been treated with swine wastewater every year since the first application in 1997. Preliminary lab-scale studies were conducted to evaluate the efficiency of polyaluminium chloride (PAC) in the removal of phosphate-P (PO4-P) from swine wastewater. The experimental objective was to increase the phosphorus treatment efficiency in constructed wetland by adding PAC as a precipitating agent. PAC was added by continuous injection to each wetland system at a rate of 3 L day−1 (1:5 dilution of concentrated PAC). Swine wastewater was added from an anaerobic lagoon to four constructed wetland cells (11m wide x 40m long) at TP loads of 5.4–6.1 kg ha−1day−1 in two experimental periods, September to November of 2008 and 2009. Treatment efficiency of two wetland systems: marsh-pond-marsh (M-P-M) and continuous marsh (CM) was compared. The wetlands were planted with cattails (Typha latifolia L.) and bulrushes (Scirpus americanus). In 2008, PAC treatment showed an increase of 27.5 and 40.8% of TP removal over control in M-P-M and CM respectively. Similar trend was also observed in the following year. PAC as a flocculant and precipitating agent showed potential to enhance TP removal in constructed wetlands treated with swine wastewater.

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