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What Are the Best Tips for Wetland Wastewater Treatment?

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  • Written By: Terrie Brockmann
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 14 November 2016
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The best wetland wastewater treatment systems protect the public's health and the environment while being cost effective and easy to operate. One tip for wastewater treatment wetland designers is that people need to exercise patience and plan carefully, because most experts advise that the wetlands filtration may take approximately a year to become fully operational. When the waste treatment designers create wetlands that are compatible with the wildlife and the region's ecology, they tend to be more effective. An essential tip for creating a successful wastewater treatment system using a wetland is to understand what a wetland is and how it works to remove waste from water.

Although most people agree that there is no definitive definition of what a wetland is, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service indicates that one type of wetland may be the transitional land between dry land and an aquatic system. The water table in a wetland is usually at the surface or very close to it. This may be a natural wetland, such as freshwater or tidal, or a constructed or man-made wetland. Wetlands use phytoremediation, which is the process of decontaminating water or soil by using plants, to filter out the impurities.

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One of the best tips for people who are considering using the wetland wastewater treatment method is to study established, successful wetland systems. It is especially helpful to investigate arrangements comparable to the system required. Several factors determine the system's attributes. One important factor is the type of waste and pollutants, including solid waste, excess nutrients, and organic matter.

Other factors are the attributes of the wetland. Some aspects to consider may be the soil or substrate matter, vegetation, and climate. A hydrologist, or water expert, can analyze the wetland's capacity and ability to filter our pollutants.

Another important tip is to manage the wetland's plant life to achieve thorough and effective filtration. The ability of the plants' roots and stems to trap sediment for the microbes will affect the overall filtration system. The microbes are essential because they digest the harmful nutrients. Understanding this complex process is key to establishing a flourishing wetland wastewater treatment system.

Knowing which type of constructed wetland wastewater system will offer the best filtration is essential. There are two types: vegetated submerged bed (VSB) and free water surface flow (FWS). The VSB has emergent plants that usually are rooted in gravel, whereas the FWS has a variety of plants, both rooted and floating. These are emergent aquatic plants, which may be reeds or cattails; submergent plants, such as widgeon grass; and floating plants like duckweed and water hyacinth. The form of system depends on the type of waste that needs to be filtered out, the topography of the land, and the climate.

The most beneficial wastewater treatment wetlands have a high correlation between the effectiveness of the waste treatment and the wetland's biological value. Many successful wastewater treatment wetlands have public-friendly amenities like wildlife viewing sites and nature trails. Incorporating the wetland wastewater treatment into the community helps to create a system that is accepted by the community. In contrast, constructed wetlands that do not support wildlife typically score low in filtration functions.

One last tip is to hire a professional who has experience in creating successful wastewater treatment using the wetlands method. Frequently, communities build wastewater treatment systems without fully understanding the complexity of the system. An expert can advise a community on the type of wetland that will be the most effective. He or she can also assess the situation and determine if the wetland wastewater treatment is appropriate. Wetland wastewater treatment is not always the most effective and cost effective waste treatment method.

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