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Forskningsartikel2019Vetenskapligt granskadÖppen tillgång

Seasonal variation in nutrient retention in a free water surface constructed wetland monitored with flow-proportional sampling and optical sensors

Ulen, Barbro; Geranmayeh, Pia; Blomberg, Maria; Bieroza, Magdalena


Constructed free water surface wetlands (CWs) are used to reduce nutrient and sediment loads to receiving waters in highly impacted catchments by e.g., agricultural land use. In this paper, we evaluated the retention effectiveness of a Swedish CW in two consecutive hydrological years, 3-4 years after construction respectively. We compared nutrient loads based on concentrations from flow-proportional sampling (C-fp) and turbidity and nitrate concentrations measured with optical sensors (C-s). CW's retention was estimated based on differences between inlet and outlet concentrations and flow (Q) at both the inlet and outlet (2Q), or only at the inlet (1Q). In the first year (2012/2013), with a cold winter (mean topsoil temperature -0.2 degrees C), nitrate-nitrogen (NO3N) retention was 32% (C-fp and C-s, 2Q). In the second year, with a mild winter (mean topsoil temp 1.8 degrees C) and less water runoff, the corresponding values were 37% (C-fp, 2Q) and 39% (C-s, 2Q). Nitrate-nitrogen retention was significantly correlated to water residence time and temperature, and was most effective relative to the load (80%) in summer and least effective (40%) in winter. Quantitatively, however, summer NO3N retention contributed only 7% (2Q) or 8% (1Q) of yearly NO3N mass retention. Particulate phosphorus (PP) concentrations were significantly correlated with suspended solids (SS) concentrations at both inlet and outlet. Seasonal PP retention (C-fp, 2Q) was related to particle residence time estimated from turbidity measurements by sensors, and was less effective in the cold winter (3%) than in the mild winter (32%) (C-fp, 2Q). Yearly retention (2Q) as a mean of the two years was: SS 40%, total P 36%, PP 34%, dissolved reactive P 30%, total N 56%, NO3N 35%, organic N 75%, and organic C 30%. Overall, the wetland satisfactorily removed nutrients from agricultural drainage water. However, longer-term studies over a range of flow and temperature conditions are needed to evaluate climate conditions and hydrological residence time as key factors in nutrient removal efficiency.


Free water surface constructed wetland; Nutrient balance; Optical sensors; Residence time

Publicerad i

Ecological Engineering
2019, Volym: 139, artikelnummer: UNSP 105588
Utgivare: ELSEVIER