Application of New Filling Material Based on Combined Heat and Power Waste for Sewage Treatment in Constructed Wetlands

Paweł Malinowski, Wojciech Dąbrowski, Beata Karolinczak

The filling of constructed wetlands (CWs) affects the efficiency of sewage treatment and proper operation. Mineral aggregates are most often used as filling materials. Significant environmental burdens from mineral mining operations justify the search for waste fill. This study aimed to determine the possibility of increasing the efficiency of CW by using a Certyd aggregate as a new filling. Certyd is produced in the sintering process of coal ash, a waste from combined heat and power (CHP) plant operation. Comprehensive two-year studies were conducted using two real-scale subsurface vertical flow (SS VF) CWs supplied with domestic sewage. One bed was filled with a Certyd and the other was filled with appropriate fractions of a mineral aggregate. Both beds worked in parallel, and to compare their effectiveness, account seasonality was taken into account. The SS-VF Certyd-filled bed achieved an average efficiency of 88.0% for biological oxygen demand (BOD5), 80.2% for chemical oxygen demand (COD), 80.4% for suspended solids (SSs), 80.2 for ammonia nitrogen (N-NH4), 72.2% for total nitrogen (TN), and 55.3% for total phosphorus (TP), while the gravel-filled bed achieved 84.5%, 77.0%, 86.9%, 74.2%, 69.4%, and 57.8% for the whole research period, respectively. A higher effect of the removed unit load was achieved in the bed filled with Certyd (36.2 g BOD5 m−2 d−1, 50.0 g COD m−2 d−1, 5.88 g SS m−2 d−1, 7.1 g TN m−2 d−1, 7.9 g N-NH4 m−2 d−1, 0.79 g TP m−2 d−1) compared to the gravel-filled bed (34.7 g BOD5 m−2 d−1, 47.0 g COD, 6.35 g SS m−2 d−1, 6.9 g TN m−2 d−1, 7.3 g m−2 d−1 N-NH4, 0.83 g TP m−2 d−1).

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