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Experiences on Constructed Wetlands for Wastewater Treatment in Rural Areas: a Case-Study in Sicily

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  022193,  2002 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.10426) @2002
Authors:   Salvatore Barbagallo, Giuseppe Luigi Cirelli, Simona Consoli, Attilio Toscano, Santo Marcello Zimbone
Keywords:   Constructed wetlands; microbial die-off; wastewater reuse

In Sicily many wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) of small-medium communities are not in operation due to management problems and high O&M costs. Extensive treatment processes, such as lagooning and constructed wetlands (CWs), potentially represent a more appropriate and sustainable treatment solution in rural contexts, as in inland areas of Southern Italy where climatic conditions and land availability are favourable. The paper reports the first results of an investigation on a subsurface horizontal flow CW for the tertiary treatment (after a secondary treatment with trickling filter) of a rural community effluent of about 5,000 people located in Eastern Sicily. The system is designed to wastewater reuse for the irrigation of olive orchards covering about 150 ha. Since March 2001 a reed bed (for about 1,100 P.E.) is in operation with a flow rate of 1.75 L/s and a nominal detention time of about 2 days. The flow path from inlet to outlet is 78 m and the total area is 1,950 m2. Mean removal efficiencies ranged from 65% to 88% (TSS), 53% to 84% (BOD5), 62% to 80% (COD), 14% to 52% (TN), 15% to 45% (TP), 95% to 99.8% (faecal coliforms). The CW unit seems to operate efficiently since the starting of operation.

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