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Wastewater Treatment and Heavy Metals Removal in the A-01 Constructed Wetland: 2003 Report

Wastewater Treatment and Heavy Metals Removal in the A-01 Constructed Wetland: 2003 Report August 2004
Author(s): Knox, Anna, David Dunn, Eric Nelson, and Winona Specht (Savannah River National Laboratory); John Seaman (Univ. of Georgia) Report No: WSRC-TR-2004-00228, 64 pp, Aug 2004
Mine: Waste Type: surface water Contaminant(s): copper, mercury, lead, zinc, nickel, nitrates Technology Type: wetland treatment system
Keywords: Wetland, Sediment Metal Retention Contaminant RemovalRemobilization
Abstract: The A-01 wetland treatment system at DOE's Savannah River Site was designed to remove metals from surface water at the A-01 NPDES outfall. Research was conducted during 2003 to evaluate the ability of the A-01 wetland treatment system (WTS) to remediate contaminated surface water, retention of the removed contaminants in wetland sediment, and the potential remobilization of these contaminants from the sediment into the water column. The overall objective of the research is to better understand the mechanisms of operation of the A-01 WTS in order to provide better input to the design of future systems. The system is a vegetated surface-flow wetland and has a retention time of approximately 48 hours. Sampling conducted during the fourth year of operation validated continued wetland performance and assessed the fate of a larger suite of metals present in the water. Copper and mercury removal efficiencies were very high, both in excess of 80% removal from the water after passage through the wetland system. Lead removal from the water by the system was 83%, zinc removal was 60%, and nickel was generally unaffected. Nitrates entering the wetland cells are removed from the water column almost immediately, and generally no nitrates are discharged from the A cells. The wetland cells are very anaerobic and the sediments have negative redox potentials. As a result, manganese and iron mineral phases in the sediments have been reduced to soluble forms and increase in the water during passage through the wetland system. Dissolved organic carbon in the water column is also increased by the system and reduces toxicity of the effluent. Operation and maintenance of the system is minimal, and consists of checking for growth of the vegetation and free flow of the water through the system. This report also details the study of sediment samples collected from the primarily inorganic material below the highly organic surface detritus.
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