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Assessing Spatiotemporal Nutrient Patterns for the Optimization of Wastewater Treatment Wetland System Performance
Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.orgCitation: 2008 Providence, Rhode Island, June 29 – July 2, 2008 084973.
Authors: Daniel R Hitchcock, Matt C Smith
Keywords: spatial, temporal, variability, wastewater, treatment, wetland, nutrient, Georgia, piedmont
The objective of this study was to determine and evaluate spatial and temporal relationships between water quality parameters, and nutrient and solids concentrations within a constructed wastewater treatment wetland system in the Georgia Piedmont, USA. The study was designed to explore factors relating to system treatment efficiency through spatial characterization of water quality parameters and constituent concentrations, which were extremely variable over space and time. Results indicated significant relationships between temperature, dissolved oxygen concentrations, and redox potential, as well as relationships between these water quality parameters and inorganic nitrogen concentrations. Because temperature, dissolved oxygen concentration, and redox potential typically affect nitrification and denitrification, seasonal trends were evident, and significant correlations were found between these water quality parameters and inorganic nitrogen concentrations. Also, organic nitrogen and inorganic and organic phosphorus concentrations were closely correlated with solids concentrations in samples collected throughout the vegetated section of the system without any seasonal trends. Results indicated that the water column within the vegetated section generally exhibited anaerobic conditions, leading to significant removal of nitrate-nitrogen. Results also indicated that water quality parameters had little effect on solids removal percentages across the vegetated wetland section. This study demonstrated that the conditions affecting wastewater treatment in vegetated wetland systems are not only highly variable but also significantly correlated. This study also provides insight into the optimal conditions for effective water quality improvement, most specifically in terms of inorganic nitrogen removal, as well as considerations and recommendations for appropriate operations and maintenance practices.