Constructed Wetlands: Description and Benefits of an Eco-Tech Water Treatment System

Constructed Wetlands: Description and Benefits of an Eco-Tech Water Treatment System

Alexandros I. Stefanakis (University of Brighton, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9559-7.ch012
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Constructed Wetlands are an alternative, promising technology for water/wastewater treatment and pollution mitigation. They belong to the wider category of natural treatment systems. The main principle is to exploit natural materials (gravel, sand, plants) and naturally occurring processes under controlled conditions for treatment purposes. Constructed Wetlands have been characterized as an environmentally friendly, sustainable technology which provides multiple economic, ecological, technical and societal benefits. It is a rising technology which can be effectively used for domestic, municipal and industrial wastewater treatment, as also for sludge dewatering and drying. This chapter presents an overview of this eco-technology; its different types, main design considerations and various advantages over conventional treatment methods.
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The use of natural processes is not something new in waste/wastewater processes. Practically, most known technologies and techniques are based on these processes, such as sedimentation, filtration, biological activity etc, and are often constructed with complex and energy-consuming mechanical equipment. The difference that separates natural treatment systems from conventional ones is that only natural components are used for the treatment. Naturally occurring processes are utilized under a controlled environment, without the input of external energy source, unless perhaps for pump operation. Among the various natural treatment systems such as facultative and oxidation ponds, Constructed Wetlands (CWs) appear as one of the most promising eco-tech treatment methods, which have been attracting increasing worldwide interest. Their excellent treatment performance, coupled with an environmentally friendly character and reduced overall costs are gradually placing Constructed Wetlands in the forefront of the scientific and marketing interest. This chapter discusses the multiple environmental, economic and technical advantages of these treatment systems and includes a brief description of their design and the wide range of their applications. These characteristics aim at presenting current research progress on sustainability issues in innovative wastewater treatment systems.

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