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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 31 No. 5, p. 1739-1747
     
    Received: Sept 27, 2001
    Published: Sept, 2002


    * Corresponding author(s): Mark.Healy@nuigalway.ie
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doi:10.2134/jeq2002.1739

Nutrient Processing Capacity of a Constructed Wetland in Western Ireland

  1. M. Healy *a and
  2. A. M. Cawleyb
  1. a Dep. of Civil Engineering, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland
    b Dep. of Engineering Hydrology, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland

Abstract

In Ireland, constructed wetland systems are increasingly being used to perform tertiary treatment on municipal waste effluent from small towns and villages located in areas whose receiving waters are deemed sensitive. The bedrock formation in the west of Ireland is primarily karst limestone and where the overburden–soil cover is very shallow, such waters are highly sensitive to pollution sources, as little or no natural attenuation and/or treatment will occur. Constructed wetland technology has been seen to offer a relatively low-cost alternative to the more conventional tertiary treatment technologies, particularly when dealing with low population numbers in small rural communities. This paper examines the waste treatment performance, in terms of nutrient (P and N) reduction, of a recently constructed surface-flow wetland system at Williamstown, County Galway, Ireland. Performance evaluation is based on more than two years of water quality and hydrological monitoring data. The N and P mass balances for the wetland indicate that the average percentage reduction over the two-year study period is 51% for total N and 13% for total P. The primary treatment process in the wetland system for suspended solids (between 84 and 90% reduction), biological oxygen demand (BOD) (on average, 49% reduction), N, and P is the physical settlement of the particulates. However, the formation of algal bloom during the growing season reduces the efficiency of the total P removal.

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Copyright © 2002. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyPublished in J. Environ. Qual.31:1739–1747.