Alternative analysis of BOD removal in subsurface flow constructed wetlands employing Monod kinetics

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Journal Article
Water Research, 2001, 35 (5), pp. 1295 - 1303
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A new, mechanistic approach for design and analysis of subsurface flow (SSF) constructed wetlands is presented. The model is based on the assumption that the biological processes in wetlands, like other biological systems, exhibit Monod kinetics. A Monod approach fits well with observed wetland performance. It predicts first-order behaviour at low concentrations, that is, pollutant removal rates which increase with increasing pollutant concentration; and zero-order or saturated behaviour at high pollutant concentrations, that is, a maximum pollutant removal rate. A kinetic analysis of subsurface flow constructed wetlands exhibiting Monod kinetics reveals that loading rate, as well as the zero-order degradation rate constant, are essential parameters for efficient wetlands design for the removal of organic carbon. In particular, Monod kinetics enables the identification of an absolute maximum removal rate which is necessary to prevent undersizing in design. This is significant because it represents a theoretical upper bound on loading rate for wetlands design. The analysis is applied to wetlands data collected in North America by the US EPA in order to extract design criteria for BOD removal. It reveals that maximum loadings for SSF wetlands are at least 80kgha-1d-1 for BOD. In addition, a new dimensionless performance efficiency parameter, Omega, is presented as a more effective means of comparing wetland performance.
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