Electroactive biofilm-based constructed wetland (EABB-CW): A mesocosm-scale test of an innovative setup for wastewater treatment

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Constructed wetlands (CWs) performance enhancement can be done with intensification strategies. A recent strategy still in study is the coupling with Microbial Electrochemical Technologies (MET). An alternative system using electro-conductive biofilters instead of electrodes and circuits used in MET, resulted in the development of a Microbial Electrochemical-based CW (METland). This system relies on electroactive bacteria (EAB) metabolism to transfer electrons to an electro-conductive material, thus boosting substrate consumption, and diminishing electron availability for biomass build-up and methane generation. In previous studies this biofilters have shown an improvement in biodegradation rates in comparison with subsurface flow CW. However, this set-up is still in development, hence there are uncertainties regarding the dynamics involve in the removal of pollutants. Considering that, this work aimed at establishing the capacity and removal kinetics of organic matter and nutrients in an Electroactive Biofilm-Based CW (EABB-CW). Two electro-conductive materials were tested (PK-A and PK-LSN) in planted and non-planted mesocosms and compared with sand. The systems were operated in a continuous upflow mode for 32 weeks and fed with real wastewater. The electro-conductive systems reached removal efficiencies up to 88% for BOD5, 90% for COD, 46% for NH4-N, and 86% for PO4-P. Organic matter removal in electro-conductive systems was possible even at loading rates 10-fold higher than recommended for horizontal flow CWs. First-order area-based removal constants (k), calculated for organic matter and nutrients are higher than values typically reported for saturated CW and in certain cases comparable with vertical flow CW. The organic removal was correlated with electron current densities measures, as indicator of the presence of EAB. The tested EABB-CW profiles as a promising CW type for the removal of organic matter and PO4-P with margin for modifications to improve nitrogen removal. Future studies with pilot/real scale systems are proposed to validate the findings of this study.

TidsskriftScience of the Total Environment
Sider (fra-til)796-806
Antal sider11
StatusUdgivet - 1 apr. 2019

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