Performance of a constructed wetland with a sulfur/limestone denitrification section for wastewater nitrogen removal

Achintya N. Bezbaruah, Tian C. Zhang

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54 Scopus citations


The effectiveness of a nonvegetated lab-scale subsurface flow constructed wetland for wastewater treatment had been evaluated with the feed ammonium concentration of ∼20-40 mg of NH4+-N L-1 and a hydraulic retention time of ∼ 10 d. The present system had a nitrification zone plus a sulfur/limestone (S/L) autotrophic denitrification zone followed by an anaerobic polishing zone and was operated with and without aeration. The wetland had only 80% organics removal and no net nitrogen removal when there was no artificial aeration. However, almost 100% organics removal and ∼81 -90% total inorganic nitrogen (TIN = NH4+-N + NO2-N + NO3--N) removal were achieved when the oxic zone of the system was aerated with compressed air. S/L autotrophic denitrification contributed 21-49% of total NO3--N removal across the whole wetland and 50-95% across the S/L column. TIN and NH4+-N in the effluent were always <5.5 and < 0.7 mg L-1, respectively, when the feed had NH4+-N ≤ 35 mg L-1. Sulfate removal of ∼53-69% was achieved in the anaerobic polishing zone. The position of the S/L column was changed (1.78, 2.24, and 2.69 m from the inlet), and no remarkable difference in nitrogen removal was observed. However, without the S/L column, TIN removal decreased to ∼74%, and the effluent NO3-N increased about two times (9.13 mg of N L-1). The present study has demonstrated the possible use of S/L autotrophic denitrification for nitrate removal in a constructed wetland.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1690-1697
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

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