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Keywords:

  • best management practices;
  • environmental impacts;
  • phosphorus;
  • stormwater management;
  • sustainability;
  • constructed wetland substrates

Rosenquist, Shawn E., W. Cully Hession, Matthew J. Eick, and David H. Vaughan, 2011. Field Application of a Renewable Constructed Wetland Substrate for Phosphorus Removal. Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA) 47(4):800-812. DOI: 10.1111/j.1752-1688.2011.00557.x

Abstract:  Phosphorus (P) is typically the best target to prevent eutrophication in freshwater, a biological process associated with water quality degradation. Constructed wetlands (CW) and other practices that include P removal by sorption processes in substrates can provide economical treatment of stormwater, but have limitations (e.g., large land requirements, loss of removal over time, lack of P recovery). Over the last three years, a multi-study research program addressed these limitations with a new P management concept. This concept minimizes CW size with a rejuvenation cycle (or rejuvenation) that renews P-sorption capacity in the CW substrates and enables P recovery for productive use. This study, conducted in Blacksburg, Virginia (July-September 2009), tested the efficacy of rejuvenation in the field. Methods included replicate cells of two sand substrates monitored for P removal during prerejuvenation and postrejuvenation filtration runs. One substrate contained cast iron filings as a repository for sorption capacity. Results support the following conclusions: (1) P removal is likely dependent on multiple factors including influent P concentration, previous substrate/solution equilibrium, pH, and time; (2) rejuvenation is capable of releasing P adsorbed during stormwater filtration; (3) inclusion of cast iron in substrate promotes additional P removal and enables further removal after rejuvenation; but (4) inclusion of cast iron may limit release of P during rejuvenation.