French vertical flow constructed wetlands (VFCW) treating raw wastewater have been developed successfully over the last 30 years. Nevertheless, the two-stage VFCWs require a total filtration area of 2–2.5 m2/P.E. Therefore, implementing a one-stage system in which treatment performances reach standard requirements is of interest. Biho-Filter® is one of the solutions developed in France by Epur Nature. Biho-Filter® is a vertical flow system with an unsaturated layer at the top and a saturated layer at the bottom. The aim of this study was to assess this new configuration and to optimize its design and operating conditions. The hydraulic functioning and pollutant removal efficiency of three different Biho-Filter® plants commissioned between 2011 and 2012 were studied. Outlet concentrations of the most efficient Biho-Filter® configuration are 70 mg/L, 15 mg/L, 15 mg/L and 25 mg/L for chemical oxygen demand (COD), 5-day biological oxygen demand (BOD5), total suspended solids (TSS) and total Kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN), respectively. Up to 60% of total nitrogen is removed. Nitrification efficiency is mainly influenced by the height of the unsaturated zone and the recirculation rate. The optimum recirculation rate was found to be 100%. Denitrification in the saturated zone works at best with an influent COD/NO3-N ratio at the inflet of this zone larger than 2 and a hydraulic retention time longer than 0.75 days.

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