What is the role of Phragmites australis in experimental constructed wetland filters treating urban runoff?

Byoung Hwa Lee, Miklas Scholz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this research was to assess the role of the macrophyte Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. ex Steud. in experimental temporarily flooded vertical-flow wetland filters treating urban runoff. For 2 years, hydrated nickel and copper nitrate were added to sieved road runoff to simulate contaminated primary treated urban runoff. During the first year, 5-day biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) removal efficiencies were lower in planted filters than in unplanted filters. However, the BOD removal performances of all filters were virtually similar irrespective of the planting regime during the second year. The nutrient removal performance of planted filters was more efficient and stable throughout the season particularly after the filters matured compared to that of unplanted filters. A substantial amount of nitrogen was also removed by harvesting P. australis, though metals were not, when compared to those retained in the filters. Furthermore, higher concentrations of nickel in the effluent were recorded in the planted filters, despite their ability to take up the heavy metals. P. australis provided undesirable conditions for precipitation of Ni by lowering the pH in the processes. Finally, after applying shock loadings of Cu, higher Cu outflow concentrations were recorded for planted in comparison to unplanted filters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-95
Number of pages9
JournalEcological Engineering
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Biochemical oxygen demand
  • Biomass harvesting
  • Copper
  • Nickel
  • Nitrogen
  • Phragmites australis
  • Suspended solids
  • Urban runoff
  • Wetland filter
  • pH

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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