This study investigated the behaviour of two intermittently fed vertical flow constructed wetlands (one planted with Tifton 85 and the other unplanted) working in parallel, treating raw municipal sewage in Brazil for a population equivalent around 100 inhabitants. Based on a monitoring programme of over 2 years, the following items were evaluated: influence of batch frequency and the presence of Tifton 85 on the wetlands performance in terms of several physico-chemical and biological constituents. The unit with plants performed better than the one without, indicating a positive influence of the presence of plants. More attachment by total and volatile solids and larger amount of bacteria involved in the nitrogen cycle were observed in the planted filter medium, which can explain its higher nitrification and solids removal. The application of a smaller influent volume with a higher batch frequency improved the performance of both units. No signs of medium clogging have been observed in both units. The system simplicity and the good removal efficiency of organic matter, suspended solids, ammonia and helminth eggs indicate its high applicability in small communities in developing countries such as Brazil.

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