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Environ Sci Technol. 2007 Dec 1;41(23):8171-7.

Removal of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) from urban wastewater in a pilot vertical flow constructed wetland and a sand filter.

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Department of Environmental Chemistry, IIQAB-CSIC, Jordi Girona 18-26, E-08034 Barcelona, Spain.


Removal efficiencies and elimination kinetics of 13 pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) and BOD5, TSS, and ammonium were evaluated in a pilot vertical subsurface-flow constructed wetland (VFCW) and compared with those obtained by a sand filter. On the basis of the observed removals, the PPCPs studied were grouped in relation to their removal efficiency into (i) PPCPs very efficiently removed, that is, >95% removal in one of the systems (caffeine, salicylic acid, methyl dihydrojasmonate, CA-ibuprofen, hydrocinnamic acid, oxybenzone, ibuprofen, OH-ibuprofen); (ii) PPCPs moderately removed, with removals between 70 and 90% in the two systems (naproxen, diclofenac, galaxolide, and tonalide); and finally (iii) PPCPs poorly removed, with elimination rates of <30% (carbamazepine). At design hydraulic loading rate (HLR) the planted VFCW and the nonplanted SF exhibited similar PPCP removal efficiencies, but the VFCWwas less sensitive to removal decline in overloading conditions (up to 2 times the design HLR). Moreover, under a clogging simulation, the HLR and the presence of vegetation were some of the key aspects affecting the PPCPs, BOD5, and ammonium removal from domestic wastewater. The VFCW evaluated was more efficient in terms of removal efficiency and loading rate for most of the PPCPs studied in comparison to constructed wetlands of other configurations (i.e., horizontal subsurface flow) and SF (nonplanted). The shorter hydraulic residence time (a few hours) in VFCW compared to that in other CW configurations ranging from days to weeks makes VFCWs a very appropriate wastewater treatment option in space-limited areas.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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