Seasonal nutrient uptake of plant biomass in a constructed wetland treating piggery wastewater effluent

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The surface-flow constructed wetland (CW) located in Nonsan City, South Korea, and constructed as the final stage of a piggery wastewater treatment plant that aims to treat high nutrient content effluent during dry days and stormwater runoff during wet days was monitored from October 2008 to November 2011. This research investigated the seasonal nutrient uptake of plant biomass in the CW and nutrient concentration changes in each treatment region under monsoon and temperate climate conditions. Results showed that the mean total nitrogen removal during summer (June to August) was higher by 13% than in spring (March to May), while total phosphorus removal was higher by 22% in fall (September to November) than in winter (December to February). All plants in the CW reached their maximum biomass coverage and weight in summer and minimum growth in winter. The highest N and P content in plants occurred in September with 583.2 g/m2 and August with 62.0 g/m2, respectively. Based on the results, it is recommended that the harvesting of plants should be conducted during the time of the peak nutrient uptake and before the plants release the nutrient content back to the CW. The dependence of nutrient removal efficiency on plants is not so significant. In order to increase the nutrient removal rate by plant uptake, it is suggested that the treatment regions in the CW be covered by plants.

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