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Nutrient Removal in Small Wastewater Treatment Systems

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

Citation:  2007 ASAE Annual Meeting  077091.(doi:10.13031/2013.23018)
Keywords:   Constructed wetlands, nutrient removal, small wastewater treatment systems, small systems in resort regions, applied ecologies, phosphorus removal

Nutrient removal from small wastewater treatment systems is particularly challenging for designers especially when the discharge is to Class A streams. There are numerous small systems in resort regions of the United States where the typical population density cannot support regional facilities. The most common solutions have relied on commercially available package treatment plants, which offer an easy solution for the designer but cannot meet the requirements for nitrogen and phosphorus removal as well as simplicity of operations. These high-rate, high-energy systems are difficult to maintain and operate. An alternative, relying on public domain technology, uses the applied ecologies of the pond (anaerobic primary treatment -bottom of the pond), marsh (subsurface flow constructed wetlands), and riparian corridor (sand filter) with additional post treatment phosphorus removal provided by alum. Using three treatment steps and passive treatment systems it is demonstrably possible to reduce ammonia to consistently less than 2.0 mg/L and phosphorus to less than 0.5 mg/L while at the same time providing carbon sequestration, as well as operational simplicity. The mathematics predicting performance are well understood and presented for the design professional.

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