Lipe Renato Dantas Mendes


Lipe Renato Dantas Mendes



Surface-flow constructed wetlands treating agricultural drainage water: processes regulating the retention of phosphorus


The loss of nutrients from agricultural areas can lead to the degradation of receiving waters. Eutrophication is a common problem to natural aquatic ecosystems when high loads of nutrients enter them. In agricultural areas, nitrogen and phosphorus are the most common nutrients released to downstream water bodies. The use of constructed wetlands has shown to remediate these problems by removing partly the nutrients and mitigating the ecological impacts. In this study, the focus has been given to the treatment of phosphorus by constructed wetlands, since it is usually the limiting factor for algae growth and still lacks knowledge in comparison to the treatment of nitrogen. The aims of the project are:

  • To analyze the seasonal variation in retention, cycle and release of different forms of phosphorus from a number of wetlands situated in clayey soils, and the main processes associated;
  • To investigate and compare the wetlands in respect to the areas with and without vegetation, and percentage of coverage, to their capacity to retain phosphorus;
  • To analyze the release of phosphorus in the long term according to the development of vegetation, accumulation of organic matter and clay particles, and sorption capacity of soils.

These analyses can support guidelines intended for wetlands construction and maintenance in order to optimize their operations. Understanding how constructed wetlands retain, transform and release phosphorus of different forms will enable us to assess if the ultimate goal of protecting the downstream water bodies from eutrophication and high loads of nutrients is being achieved.

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