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Modeling and designing Constructed Wetlands for water treatmentEPA Grant Number: U914749
Title: Modeling and designing Constructed Wetlands for water treatment
Investigators: Marsteiner, Edward L.
Institution: Clarkson University
EPA Project Officer: Broadway, Virginia
Project Period: January 1, 1995 through January 1, 1996
Project Amount: $68,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1995) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Engineering and Environmental Chemistry , Fellowship - Engineering
The use of constructed wetlands for treatment of water from point and nonpoint pollution sources is the focus of my research. My research project will concentrate on a newly constructed wetland in Minoa, NY, that is to be used to treat primary effluent from the existing wastewater treatment plant. This particular project is extremely important because it is the first constructed wetland built in a northern climate, where extended periods of low temperatures will be experienced. The objective of this research project is to develop a mechanistic model and verify the current empirical models.
Currently, there are no detailed design specifications for constructed wetlands. Two empirical procedures are used to design wetlands. The first approach is a mass loading criteria, which designs a wetland for a certain percent removal at a given mass loading of biochemical oxygen demand, or nitrogen. The second model is a "black box model." The wastewater enters the system, undergoes aerobic and/or anaerobic decay at a temperature dependent decay rate, and is then discharged. This model relates the water quality entering the wetland to the water quality leaving, with no underlying mechanistic explanation of the processes that accomplish the removal of the organic material or nutrients. The decay rate constant has been derived from field observations of existing wetlands. To develop the model, the contribution of each of the physical, chemical, and biological processes responsible for successful removal of organic matter and nutrients in the wetlands will be assessed.