Clogging in horizontal subsurface flow constructed wetlands: influencing factors, research methods and remediation techniques

  • Mateus Pimentel de Matos
  • Marcos von Sperling
  • Antonio Teixeira de Matos
review paper


The treatment of wastewater in constructed wetlands (CW) has been increasingly applied throughout the world, as it is an efficient technique for the removal of pollutants and presents low construction and operational costs. However, a major operational problem of these systems is clogging of the porous medium. Clogging of CW has therefore attracted the attention in several studies, but there are several gaps in the understanding of this phenomenon, especially with regards to its genesis. In order to evaluate the contribution of the influencing factors and to facilitate remediation, it is important to have methods that favor characterization of the real conditions of CW. In this review, the objective was to gather information on the main factors interfering in the clogging process of horizontal subsurface flow constructed wetlands, the available and the new methods for characterizing the degree of obstruction of the porous medium and the techniques/strategies for unclogging these systems.


Bulking factor Hydraulic conductivity Wear Unclogging Swelling Plants 



The authors would like to thank the agencies CAPES, CNPq, FAPEMIG and UNESCO-IHE for their support to the research, Copasa for providing the site for the experimental units, CAPES for the scholarship of the first author and to the Federal University of Minas Gerais.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Engineering, Nucleus of Environmental and Sanitary EngineeringFederal University of LavrasLavrasBrazil
  2. 2.Department of Sanitary and Environmental EngineeringFederal University of Minas GeraisBelo HorizonteBrazil

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