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Constructed Wetlands

Constructed Wetlands

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Constructed Wetlands
Dhawal Patil
Department of Civil Engineering
College of Engineering Pune
From ancient times we have seen that establishment and rise of civilizations took place near water  bodies. Only those kingdoms flourished which were along the river basins. So rivers are the mostimportant as far as human survival is concerned. But on contrast today the scenario is very different.
Rivers are merely treated as conduits to sewage waste which is created every day in big cities.The main objective is to find an alternate but efficient solution for treating waste water and storm water runoff.
Water Quality Wetlands
are a key treatment measure for nitrogen reduction and also help tomanage other important water quality issues such as phosphorus, suspended sediments and other toxicants. The aim of the storm and sewage water quality treatment is to reduce pollutants loads fromthe urban areas.
Problem Definition:
Figure 1: Schematic Representation of Constructed Wetland
 India desperately needs strategies to manage its human waste. Out of 
22,900 MLD
of waste-water generated in the country, only about
5,900 MLD
) is treated before disposal.According to a survey by
, a NGO, out of the 3,119 big and small cities in India, only
) have centralized STP. A closer analysis reveals that
of the STPs operate below their design capacity with
of them being defunct. All this untreated waste is dumped into the rivers dueto which water pollution has increased to such an extent that, the pats of rivers (
) flowing
through cities have been declared
. Moreover in many cities the storm water drains are directlylet into the rivers which may lead to critical situation.
 Constructed wetland mainly consists of four zones viz.
pre treatment zone, inlet zone, ephemeral
wetland zone
. Pre treatment zone consist of a
litter trap
. Litter trap is an assembly capable
of trapping all the litter flowing through the water. The inlet zone more or less works as a
sedimentation pond
energy dissipation zone
. The ephemeral zone has a
leaf trap
, an assemblywhich can trap all organic matter and leafs, thus refrain them from reaching the wetland zone. The
wetland zone consists of a
horizontal flow
reed bed system
which provides substrate to the wetland plants to grow as well as it acts a filter medium.
3.1 Pre-Treatment (gross pollutant retention):
Corresponding Author 
 To minimize the onerous task of removing litter from vegetation throughout the wetland, a litter 
trapping capability is required upstream of the wetland. The intention of the litter trap is to removelitter and organic matter from inflows to allow simple collection by maintenance crews. This can either  be achieved through installation of specially designed litter traps where flows permit, or by designing
the inlet zone to be capable of trapping. It should be noted that if flows are too high to allow theincorporation of litter trap, then a strategy to remove litter closer to the source via distributedtreatments in the upstream drainage system will be required.Where a litter trap is required, it should be capable of retaining litter items of a size greater than 20mmfor all flows up to a flow rate of 1 in 3 months ARI. Tighter restrictions with respect to size of captureand design flows to be treated, may apply where the receiving waterway or water body is of highenvironmental or recreational value. Treatments requiring removal of 5mm for a 1 in 6 month ARI may be applicable in these cases.
3.2 Inlet Zone (energy dissipation and sedimentation):
Coarse sediment or excessive velocities can damage the biofilms and either smother or dislodge sensitive wetland vegetation. Removal of coarse sediment can be achieved by either:
Installing a sediment trap as part of the pre-treatment, or 
Using the inlet zone pond as a coarse sediment trap (in addition to its energy dissipationrole).Regardless of which method is used, 95% all suspended sediment down to a particle size of 125 µmshall be removed for peak design flows. Treatment of a 1 in 1 year ARI event is required when the inletzone is part of the constructed wetland system
 Where the sediment trapping occurs in the catchment and a “natural stream system” is used toconvey the waters to a downstream wetland, a 1 in 2 year ARI event shall be adopted as the designflow (i.e. tighter restrictions are required to protect the natural stream reach from sedimentation).An ability to retain collected sediment for a period of up to 5 years between maintenance is a
minimum requirement. The sediment trap other than a pond should capable of achieving the above performance criteria.
3.3 Ephemeral Zone (leaf/organic matter trap):
An ephemeral marsh leaf trap is used to trap leaf and other organic material prior to entering the
wetland zone where the litter trap or GPT cannot meet the design flow. The ephemeral zone reduces thelikelihood of the anaerobic decomposition of such material in the wetland.1. The ephemeral zone should be notionally graded from the outer edges towards the low flow channeland from upstream to downstream.2. The shallow rock lined (75mm) base flow channel shall be zigzagged through the area with abilityfor event flows to side caste to the adjacent areas which will be planted with ephemeral marsh plants.3. The design shall incorporate a number of raised mounds which are approximately 45
to theoncoming flows.4. Ephemeral marsh plantings shall be arranged in the offline cells to form a herringbone pattern.5. A porous rock wall (250 mm) shall be provided across the downstream end of ephemeral marsh cellto facilitate flow attenuation and pooling in event situations.6. The mounds shall be top soiled and planted with appropriate ephemeral marsh species.7. Given the susceptibility of erosion of the mounds in the construction stages it is preferable that theyare formed by removing material from around the mounds rather than stripping the entire area and then building the mounds.
3.4 Wetland Zone (fine particulate and dissolved contaminant retention):
constructed wetland
is an artificial marsh or swamp, created for anthropogenicdischarge such as wastewater, storm water runoff or sewage treatment, and as habitat for wildlife, or for land reclamation after mining or other disturbance. Natural wetlands act as biofilters, removingsediments and pollutants such as heavy metals from the water.
3.4.1 Operation:
Vegetation in a wetland provides a substrate (roots, stems, and leaves) upon which microorganisms can
grow as they break down organic materials. This community of microorganisms is known as the periphyton. The periphyton and natural chemical processes are responsible for approximately 90 percent of pollutant removal and waste breakdown. The plants remove about seven to ten percent of 
 pollutants, and act as a carbon source for the microbes when they decay. Different species of aquatic plants have different rates of heavy metal uptake, a consideration for plant selection in a constructedwetland used for water treatment.Physical, chemical, and biological processes combine in wetlands to remove contaminantsfrom wastewater. An understanding of these processes is fundamental not only to designing wetlandsystems but to understanding the fate of chemicals once they have entered the wetland. Theoretically,treatment of wastewater within a constructed wetland occurs as it passes through the wetland mediumand the plant rhizosphere. A thin aerobic film around each root hair is aerobic due to the leakage of oxygen from the rhizomes, roots, and rootlets. Decomposition of organic matter is facilitated byaerobic and anaerobic micro-organisms present. Microbial nitrification and subsequent denitrificationreleases nitrogen as gas to the atmosphere. Phosphorus is coprecipitated with iron, aluminum, andcalcium compounds located in the root-bed medium. Suspended solids are filtered out as they settle inthe water column in surface flow wetlands or are physically filtered out by the medium withinsubsurface flow wetland cells. Harmful bacteria and viruses are reduced by filtration and adsorption by biofilms on the rock media in subsurface flow and vertical flow systems.
3.4.2 Rootzone Treatment System (decentralized):

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