Aquatic environment

Contaminant removal from low-concentration polluted river water by the bio-rack wetlands

Ji Wang , Lanying Zhang , Shaoyong Lu , Xiangcan Jin , Shu Gan


Received October 13, 2011,Revised December 12, 2011, Accepted , Available online June 01, 2012

Volume 24,2012,Pages 1006-1013

The bio-rack is a new approach for treating low-concentration polluted river water in wetland systems. A comparative study of the efficiency of contaminant removal between four plant species in bio-rack wetlands and between a bio-rack system and control system was conducted on a small-scale (500 mm length × 400 mm width × 400 mm height) to evaluate the decontamination effects of four different wetland plants. There was generally a significant difference in the removal of total nitrogen (TN), ammonia nitrogen (NH3-N) and total phosphorus (TP), but no significant difference in the removal of permanganate index (CODMn) between the bio-rack wetland and control system. Bio-rack wetland planted with Thalia dealbata had higher nutrient removal rates than wetlands planted with other species. Plant fine-root (root diameter ≤ 3 mm) biomass rather than total plant biomass was related to nutrient removal efficiency. The study suggested that the nutrient removal rates are influenced by plant species, and high fine-root biomass is an important factor in selecting highly effective wetland plants for a bio-rack system. According to the mass balance, the TN and TP removal were in the range of 61.03--73.27 g/m2 and 4.14--5.20 g/m2 in four bio-rack wetlands during the whole operational period. The N and P removal by plant uptake constituted 34.9%--43.81% of the mass N removal and 62.05%--74.81% of the mass P removal. The study showed that the nitrification/denitrification process and plant uptake process are major removal pathways for TN, while plant uptake is an effective removal pathway for TP.

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