In the present study, a pilot scale horizontal subsurface flow constructed wetland (CW) system planted with Phragmites karka; longitudinal profile was studied. The wetland was fed with tannery wastewater, pretreated in a two-stage anaerobic digester followed by a sequence batch reactor. Samples from each CW were taken and analyzed using standard methods. The removal efficiency of the CW system in terms of biological oxygen demand (BOD), chemical oxygen demand (COD), Cr and total coliforms were 91.3%, 90%, 97.3% and 99%, respectively. The removal efficiency for TN, NO3 and NH4+-N were 77.7%, 66.3% and 67.7%, respectively. Similarly, the removal efficiency of SO42−, S2− and total suspended solids (TSS) were 71.8%, 88.7% and 81.2%, respectively. The concentration of COD, BOD, TN, NO3N, NH4+-N, SO42 and S2− in the final treated effluent were 113.2 ± 52, 56 ± 18, 49.3 ± 13, 22.75 ± 20, 17.1 ± 6.75, 88 ± 120 and 0.4 ± 0.44 mg/L, respectively. Pollutants removal was decreased in the first 12 m and increased along the CW cells. P. karka development in the first cell of CW was poor, small in size and experiencing chlorosis, but clogging was higher in this area due to high organic matter settling, causing a partial surface flow. The performance of the pilot CW as a tertiary treatment showed that the effluent meets the permissible discharge standards.

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