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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

A Water Chemistry Assessment of Wastewater Remediation in a Natural Swamp


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 29 No. 6, p. 1960-1968
    Received: Sept 30, 1999

    * Corresponding author(s): s-feagley@tamu.edu
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  1. Xiaowei Zhang,
  2. Sam E. Feagley *,
  3. John W. Day,
  4. William H. Conner,
  5. Irene D. Hesse,
  6. John M. Rybczyk and
  7. Wayne H. Hudnall
  1. D etroit Water and Sewerage Dep., Detroit, MI 48201;
    S oil and Crop Sciences Dep., Texas A&M Univ., College Station, TX 77843-2474;
    D ep. of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, Louisiana State Univ., Baton Rouge, LA 70803;
    B aruch Inst. of Coastal Ecol. and Forest Science, Clemson Univ., Box 596, Georgetown, SC 29442;
    F orest Sciences, Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO 80523;
    B iological and Environmental Sciences, California Univ., Box 45, California, PA 15419;
    A gronomy Dep., LSU Agricultural Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70803.



Various aspects of water chemistry of a natural forested wetland were studied in order to determine the possibility of using the wetland for advanced wastewater treatment in Louisiana and to evaluate the wastewater effect on swamp water quality. The study was carried out by comparing treatment and control cypress-tupelo forests separated by a bottomland hardwood forest ridge. The treatment area (231 ha) received secondarily treated municipal wastewater at a rate of 6.3 × 106 L d−1. The calculated hydraulic detention time of the wastewater was 120 d. Electrical conductivity (EC), pH, and concentrations of 5-d biological oxygen demand (BOD5), dissolved oxygen (DO), solids, nutrients, and trace metals were monitored. Mean concentrations for the wastewater were 14.6 mg L−1 for total N and 2.5 mg L−1 for total P. The dominant form of N in the wastewater was NO3-N. The swamp system attenuated the NO3-N by 100%, total Kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN) by 69%, and total P by 66%. It appears that tertiary wastewater treatment was achieved due to the nutrient attenuations. Based upon our findings, we predict that the high N attenuation efficiency would enable the swamp to work well if the N loading rate were doubled. However, P removal was dependent on loading rate, hydraulic retention time, and temperature. The swamp was more efficient in treating wastewater during warm seasons than cool seasons. During the monitoring period, trace metals were not significantly increased in the swamp water because of very low concentrations in the wastewater.

This work was performed at the Louisiana State Univ. Joint contribution from the Oceanography and Coastal Sciences Department and Agronomy department.

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