Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 586–599 | Cite as

The use of biochar and crushed mortar in treatment wetlands to enhance the removal of nutrients from sewage

  • Tanveer SaeedEmail author
  • Nilufar Yasmin
  • Guangzhi Sun
  • Ariful Hasnat
Research Article


An experimental study was carried out using in pilot-scale constructed wetland systems, operated in parallel to treat raw sewage. Each system consisted of a vertical flow (VF) unit that was filled with biochar as the main media, followed by a horizontal flow (HF) unit filled with crushed cement mortar. Hydraulic loading (HL) ranged 340–680 mm/day was applied on the VF wetland units, where high total nitrogen (TN) mass removal rate (20–23 g N/m2 d) was obtained, demonstrating that biochar media had a beneficial effect on the degradation of nitrogenous pollutants. Total phosphorus (TP) removal percentage (concentration based) was ≥ 86% in HF wetlands packed with mortar materials. In one system, the flow direction of the sewage was directed by the deployment of downflow pipes and vertical baffles, aiming to facilitate the formation of aerobic and anaerobic zones in the wetland matrices. The effects of such arrangement were analyzed by comparing pollutant removal efficiencies in the two systems. On average, 99, 96, 93, and 86 percentage removals were obtained for ammonia (NH4-N), TN, biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), and TP, respectively, during the experiments. Biochar and crushed mortar proved to be a highly effective combination as media in subsurface flow constructed wetlands for wastewater treatment.


Hybrid wetland Organic media Reed bed Wastewater treatment 



We acknowledge the facilities provided by Department of Civil Engineering, UAP, to undertake this research study. We also extend our gratitude to Mr. Shahadat Hossain, technical assistant of Environmental Engineering and Chemistry Laboratory, for the sample analyses.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tanveer Saeed
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nilufar Yasmin
    • 1
  • Guangzhi Sun
    • 2
  • Ariful Hasnat
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringUniversity of Asia PacificDhakaBangladesh
  2. 2.School of EngineeringEdith Cowan UniversityJoondalupAustralia

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