Comparison of interannual removal variation of various constructed wetland types.
ABSTRACT Seven mesocosm-scale (1m(2)) constructed wetlands (CWs) of different configurations were operated outdoors for thirty-nine months under the same conditions to assess their ability to remove organic matter and nutrients from urban wastewaters. CWs differed in some design parameters, namely the presence of plants, the species chosen (i.e., Typha angustifolia or Phragmites australis), the flow configuration (i.e., surface flow or subsurface flow) and the presence/absence of a gravel bed. It was observed that, in general, removal efficiencies decreased with the aging of the system and that seasonality had a great influence on CWs. A comparison was made in order to figure out which kind of CW was more efficient for the removal of every pollutant in the long term. Planted systems were clearly better than unplanted systems even in winter. Efficiency differences among CWs were not extremely great, especially after a few years. However, some types of CWs were more adequate for the removal of certain pollutants. The effect of the aging on the main parameters involved in pollutant removal in CWs (temperature, pH, conductivity, dissolved oxygen concentration and redox potential) was assessed. The efficiency of CWs should not be evaluated based on short monitoring periods (1-2 years) after the start-up of the systems, but on longer periods.