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Algae turf scrubber and vertical constructed wetlands combined system for decentralized secondary wastewater treatment

Water shortage is a current problem faced by many regions. The deterioration of water bodies driven by the directly discard of untreated wastewater worsens the water shortage and implies in more costly treatments to meet local standards for water quality. In rural areas, the problem is even worse, once conventional centralized treatment plants do not encompass them. Decentralized treatment systems must present low-cost, local availability, standards-meeting efficiency, and simplified operation. The present study examines the combined use of algae turf scrubber and down-flow vertical constructed wetlands for a University’s sanitary wastewater treatment. After a hydraulic detention time of 21 days, the unit was able to reach 49%, 48%, 98%, 82%, 99.2%, 70.1%, 44%, 83%, 72%, 86%, 69%, 95%, and 99.9% for conductivity, total soluble solids, turbidity, apparent color, N-NH3, total nitrogen, P-soluble, total carbon, chemical oxygen demand, inorganic carbon, TOC, Escherichia coli, and total coliforms. In accord to the Brazilian standard ABNT 13969/97, the treated effluent is eligible for reuse in floor and sidewalks washing, garden irrigation, and landscaping purposes.

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This project has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n° [310187].