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February 2012 » Departments

Turbo charging wetlands for wastewater treatment
On the whole, wetlands used for wastewater treatment do not have a sparkling reputation in the United States. The coupling of non-technical enthusiasm with unrealistic operational expectations has resulted in numerous systems that do not reliably achieve effluent targets. Recent development and use of Forced Bed Aeration (FBA) in aerated wetlands has provided proven, consistent, and controllable results for new and retrofit applications:

  • Research conducted in 2011 at Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research in Langenrechenbach, Germany, demonstrated the side-by-side performance of different wetland configurations —€” including wetlands with FBA. The results illustrated the significant improvements associated with adding aeration to the beds.
  • A full-scale, FBA treatment wetland has been in operation for two years at Buffalo Niagara International Airport and represents one of the major applications of aerobic treatment systems for glycol-based deicing fluids.
  • At a pump and treat remediation site in Casper, Wyo., British Petroleum constructed a petroleum hydrocarbon remediation system. The system provides treatment of as much as 11,400 cubic meters per day of gasoline-contaminated groundwater and includes aerated subsurface flow wetland cells for BTEX removal. It blends into the middle of a golf course and is anticipated to operate effectively for more than 100 years.
A full-scale treatment wetland was constructed at Buffalo Niagara International Airport for glycol-based deicing fluids.

At the present stage of development and with the documentation of successful performance of these systems, the range of industrial applications will continue to expand.

Find these web-exclusive articles with the FEBRUARY 2012 issue of CE News at www.cenews.com.


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