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Understanding Integrated Removal of Heavy Metals, Organic Matter and Nitrogen in a Constructed Wetland System Receiving Simulated Landfill Leachate

Authors: A. Mohammed, A. Babatunde


This study investigated the integrated removal of heavy metals, organic matter and nitrogen from landfill leachate using a novel laboratory scale constructed wetland system. The main objectives of this study were: (i) to assess the overall effectiveness of the constructed wetland system for treating landfill leachate; (ii) to examine the interactions and impact of key leachate constituents (heavy metals, organic matter and nitrogen) on the overall removal dynamics and efficiency. The constructed wetland system consisted of four stages operated in tidal flow and anoxic conditions. Results obtained from 215 days of operation have demonstrated extraordinary heavy metals removal up to 100%. Analysis of the physico- chemical data reveal that the controlling factors for metals removal were the anoxic condition and the use of the novel media (dewatered ferric sludge which is a by-product of drinking water treatment process) as the main substrate in the constructed wetland system. Results show that the use of the ferric sludge enhanced heavy metals removal and brought more flexibility to simultaneous nitrification and denitrification which occurs within the microbial flocs. Furthermore, COD and NH4-N were effectively removed in the system and this coincided with enhanced aeration in the 2nd and 3rd stages of the constructed wetland system. Overall, the results demonstrated that the ferric dewatered sludge constructed wetland system would be an effective solution for integrated removal of pollutants from landfill leachates.

Keywords: Landfill Leachate, Constructed Wetlands, heavy metal, ferric dewatered sludge

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