Three pilot-scale duckweed pond (DP) wastewater treatment systems were designed and operated to examine the effect of aeration and effluent recycling on treatment efficiency. Each system consisted of two DPs in series fed by pre-settled domestic sewage. The first system (duckweed+ conventional treatment) was ‘natural’ and included only duckweed plants. The second system (duckweed aeration) included aeration in the second pond. The third system (duckweed+ aeration+ circulation) included aeration in the second pond and effluent recycling from the second to the first pond. All three systems demonstrated similarly efficient removal of organic matter and nutrients. Supplemental aeration had no effect on either dissolved oxygen levels or on pollutant removal efficiencies. Although recycling had almost no influence on nutrient removal efficiencies, it had a positive impact on chemical oxygen demand and total suspended solids removals due to equalization of load and pH, which suppressed algae growth. Recycling also improved the appearance and growth rate of the duckweed plants, especially during heavy wastewater loads.

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