Efficiency of natural systems for removal of bacteria and pathogenic parasites from wastewater
Science of the Total Environment , 395 , 2008

Reinoso, R. , Torres, L.A., Becares, E.

A combined constructed wetland formed by a facultative pond (FP), a surface flow wetland (SF) and a subsurface flow wetland (SSF) was studied from December 2004 until September 2005 in north-western Spain in order to evaluate their efficiency in the removal of pathogenic and indicator microorganisms and to determine their relationships. Microbial removal ranged from 78% for coliphages to over 99% for helminth eggs, depending on the treatment system. The highest removal of indicator bacteria (total coliforms, E. coli, faecal streptococci and Clostridium perfringens) occurred in the stabilization pond, reaching 84%, 96%, 89% and 78%, respectively. However, the greatest removal of protozoan pathogens (Cryptosporidium and Giardia) and coliphages was found in the SSF wetland, 98%, 97% and 94%, respectively. In contrast, the SF wetland was most efficient in the removal of pathogenic parasites when considering superficial removal rates. Seasonal differences in organism removal were not statistically significant during the study period. First-order removal rate constants ranged from 0.0027 to 0.71 m/d depending on the microorganism and type of wetland. Significant correlations were found between pathogenic parasites and faecal indicators in the influent of the treatment systembut not in the other sampling points suggesting that such relations varied along the system due to the different survival rates of the microorganisms.