The Influence of Vegetation on Sedimentation and Resuspension of Soil Particles in Small Constructed Wetlands
- B.C. Braskerud *
When initiatives to mitigate soil erosion are insufficient or fail, constructed surface flow wetlands (CWs) could be a final buffer to reduce pollution before reaching recipients. The objective of this study was to determine the influence of CW vegetation on the retention of soil particles from arable land. Retention was measured with water flow-proportional sampling systems in the inlet and outlet, sedimentation traps, and sedimentation plates in four small CWs over a period of 5 yr. The surface area of the CWs was 265 to 900 m2, and the average hydraulic loads were 1.2 to 3.4 m d−1 Watershed areas were 0.5 to 1.5 km2 Annual soil particle retention was 30 to 80% or 14 to 121 kg m−2 Results show that macrophytes stimulate sediment retention by mitigating resuspension of CW sediment. Five years after construction, resuspension had decreased approximately 40% and was negligible. As vegetation cover increases, the influence of macrophytes on soil particle retention reaches a level where other factors, such as hydraulic load and sediment load, were more important. Macrophytes increased the hydraulic efficiency by reducing short-circuit or preferential flow. However, vegetation did not have any influence on the clay concentration in the sediment. Hence, a possible stimulation of particle flocculation was not detected. Vegetation makes it possible to use the positive effect of a short particle settling distance in shallow ponds by hindering resuspension.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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