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Domestic wastewater treatment in pilot-scale constructed wetlands implemented in the Middle East Technical University

Korkusuz, Elif Asuman
To foster the practical development of constructed wetlands used for wastewater treatment in Turkey, a pilot-scale subsurface constructed wetland system (90 m2) was designed to treat the domestic wastewater produced by 60 PE living in the residential area of METU. In summer 2001, two parallel sets of hybrid wetland systems (vertical flow connected with horizontal flow) with identical design configuration, but with different fill media (blast furnace granulated iron slag and gravel) were built on the old sludge-drying bed of the abandoned wastewater treatment plant of METU, which has not been operating since the 1990s. Wetland cells were planted with common reed (Phragmites australis). The main objective of this research was to quantify the effect of different filter media on the removal performance of subsurface flow constructed wetlands in the prevailing climate of Ankara. Thus, slag-filled and gravel-filled vertical flow wetlands were operated identically with pre-settled domestic wastewater (3 m3.d-1) at a hydraulic loading rate of 110 mm.d-1 for 12 months, intermittently. According to the first year results, annual average removal efficiencies for the slag and gravel wetland cells were as follows: TSS (63% & 59%), COD (47% & 44%), NH4+-N (88% & 53%), TN (44% & 39%), PO43--P (44% & 1%) and TP (45% & 4%). The slag-filled vertical flow system removed phosphorus and ammonium efficiently than the gravel-filled system due to the differences in physical structures and chemical compositions of the fill media, and the different aerobic and anaerobic environments within the wetland cells. These results indicated that the well-designed constructed wetlands could also be used for secondary and tertiary treatment in Turkey, successfully.