Treating wastewater under zero waste principle using wetland mesocosms
Abstract • Smart wetland was designed to treat wastewater according to zero waste principle. • The system included a dynamic roughing filter, Cyperus papyrus (L.) and zeolite. • It removed 98.8 and 99.8% of chemical and bacterial pollutants in 3 days. • The effluent reused to irrigate a landscape and the sludge recycled as fertilizer. • The plant biomass is a profitable resource for antibacterial and antioxidants. The present investigation demonstrates the synergistic action of using a sedimentation unit together with Cyperus papyrus (L.) wetland enriched with zeolite mineral in one-year round experiment for treating wastewater. The system was designed to support a horizontal surface flow pattern and showed satisfactory removal efficiencies for both physicochemical and bacteriological contaminants within 3 days of residence time. The removal efficiencies ranged between 76.3% and 98.8% for total suspended solids, turbidity, iron, biological oxygen demand, and ammonia. The bacterial indicators (total and fecal coliforms, as well as fecal streptococci) and the potential pathogens (Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa) showed removal efficiencies ranged between 96.9% and 99.8%. We expect the system to offer a smart management for every component according to zero waste principle. The treated effluent was reused to irrigate the landscape of pilot area, and the excess sludge was recycled as fertilizer and soil conditioner. The zeolite mineral did not require regeneration for almost 36 weeks of operation, and enhanced the density of shoots (14.11%) and the height of shoots (15.88%). The harvested plant biomass could be a profitable resource for potent antibacterial and antioxidant bioactive compounds. This could certainly offset part of the operation and maintenance costs and optimize the system implementation feasibility. Although the experiment was designed under local conditions, its results could provide insights to upgrade and optimize the performance of other analogous large-scale constructed wetlands.
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