Exploring hydrobiogeochemical processes of floating treatment wetlands in a subtropical stormwater wet detention pond



N. B. Chang; Z. M. Xuan; Z. Marimon; K. Islam;M. P. Wanielista


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Abbreviated Journal Title

Ecol. Eng.


Best management practice; Ecohydrology; Floating treatment wetland; Hydrobiogeochemical process; Nutrient removal; Stromwater management; Wet detention pond; WASTE-WATER; NITRATE; Ecology; Engineering, Environmental; Environmental Sciences


Floating treatment wetland (FTW) is one of the emerging best management practices (BMPs) for stormwater treatment where macrophytes provide a suitable root-zone environment for microorganisms that allow the plants to remove nutrients through direct uptake into their tissue. In this study, four floating mats with native Florida aquatic macrophytes were deployed in a 340 m(2) subtropical stormwater wet detention pond. A fountain in the pond and peat moss used to hold the substrate for plant species on the floating mats are both assumed to add nutrients to the water column. The aim of this study was to evaluate the performance of nutrient removal through the four floating mats and explore associated effects of simultaneous hydrological and biological controls related to various hydrobiogeochemical processes for nutrient removal in a multimedia pond environment. Nutrient concentrations in both inlet and outlet were monitored continuously over 13 months, with episodic (storm events) and routine (non-storm events) sampling plans carried out in parallel to justify the efficacy of the FTWs. Nutrient values within the water column and the sediment were compared before (Phase I) and after (Phase II) the deployment of the FTWs to prove the proposed hypotheses. An additional phase (Phase III) after the removal of the FTWs was added to enhance the understanding of ecosystem response. For non-storm events, phosphorus removal was substantial because of the increase in the initial concentrations, presumably due to resuspension of nutrients into the water column from the fountain operation; about 47.7% total phosphorus (TP) and 79.0% orthophosphate (OP) were removed. The removal rates of total nitrogen (TN), nitrite- and nitrate-nitrogen (NOx-N = NO2--N + NO3--N), and ammonia-nitrogen (NH3-N) were also calculated as 15.7, 20.6, and 51.1%, respectively. Without the uptake by plants, the nutrient removal decreased to different degrees when comparing those in non-storm events during Phase II. Considering plant species, nutrient uptake and assimilation by soft rush (Juncus effusus) was much higher than that by pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata) through both leaves and roots in this case. For soft rush, uptake rate in spring is much higher than that in fall. About 77.0 gN and 8.8 g P were removed from pond water via uptake and assimilation during the second phase. Despite organic nitrogen accumulation due to the pickerelweed leaf debris sedimentation, the organic nitrogen concentration in pond water was still kept at a low level, which implies that the ecosystem is capable of efficiently managing the withered plants and circulating nutrients. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Journal Title

Ecological Engineering



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