Assessment of long-term phosphorus retention in an integrated constructed wetland treating domestic wastewater

Mawuli Dzakpasu, Miklas Scholz, Valerie McCarthy, Siobhán N. Jordan

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Due to the nature of the phosphorus (P) removal mechanisms associated with constructed wetlands, the sustainability of P treatment is usually of high interest. As a result, a 4-year dataset from a typical multi-celled integrated constructed wetland (ICW) located at Glaslough in Co. Monaghan, Ireland was evaluated to determine the effects of longterm P loadings and hydrological inputs on P treatment. The ICW was intensively monitored year-round from February 2008 through March 2012 for total P and molybdate reactive phosphate (MRP). Domestic wastewater was loaded at 16.4± 0.96 g m2 year−1 for total P and 11.2±0.74 g m2 year 1 for MRP. Average mass reductions over the monitoring period were 91.4 and 90.1%, respectively. The area-based kinetic coefficients (K( 20 )) of 11.8 for total P and 15.6 m year−1 for MRP indicated a high area-specific retention rate. The ICW appeared to have a sustained capacity for P adsorption and retention, but the treatment was influenced mainly by external hydrological inputs and fluctuations in wastewater loadings. Linear regression analyses showed a reduction in mass retention of both total P and MRP with increased effluent flow volumes. Monthly mass reductions exceeded 90% when the effluent flow volumes were less than 200 m3day 1. When monthly effluent flow volumes exceeded 200 m3 day 1, nonetheless, mass reductions became highly variable. Designs and management of ICW systems should adopt measures to limit external hydrological loadings in order to maintain sufficient P treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-313
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Constructed wetland
  • Domestic wastewater
  • Kinetic constant
  • Long-termperformance
  • Phosphorus
  • Retention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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