Optimization of Petroleum Refinery Wastewater Treatment by Vertical Flow Constructed Wetlands Under Tropical Conditions: Plant Species Selection and Polishing by a Horizontal Flow Constructed Wetland

  • Hassana Ibrahim Mustapha
  • J. J. A. van Bruggen
  • P. N. L. Lens


Typha latifolia-planted vertical subsurface flow constructed wetlands (VSSF CWs) can be used to treat petroleum refinery wastewater. This study evaluated if the removal efficiency of VSSF CWs can be improved by changing the plant species or coupling horizontal subsurface flow constructed wetlands (HSSF CWs) to the VSSF CW systems. The VSSF CWs had a removal efficiency of 76% for biological oxygen demand (BOD5), 73% for chemical oxygen demand (COD), 70% for ammonium-N (NH4+-N), 68% for nitrate-N (NO3-N), 49% for phosphate (PO43−-P), 68% for total suspended solids (TSS), and 89% for turbidity. The HSSF CWs planted with T. latifolia further reduced the contaminant load of the VSSF CW-treated effluent, giving an additional removal efficiency of 74, 65, 43, 65, 58, 50, and 75% for, respectively, BOD5, COD, NH4+-N, NO3-N, PO43−-P, TSS, and turbidity. The combined hybrid CW showed, therefore, an improved effluent quality with overall removal efficiencies of, respectively, 94% for BOD5, 88% for COD, 84% for NH4+-N, 89% for NO3-N, 78% for PO43−-P, 85% for TSS, and 97% for turbidity. T. latifolia strived well in the VSSF and HSSF CWs, which may have contributed to the high NH4 +-N, NO3-N, and PO43−-P removal efficiencies. T. latifolia-planted VSSF CWs showed a higher contaminant removal efficiency compared to the unplanted VSSF CW. T. latifolia is thus a suitable plant species for treatment of secondary refinery wastewater. Also a T. latifolia-planted hybrid CW is a viable alternative for the treatment of secondary refinery wastewater under the prevailing climatic conditions in Nigeria.


Optimization Typha latifolia Refinery wastewater Tropics Hybrid CWs Discharge limits 



The authors acknowledge the Netherlands Fellowship Program (NFP) for financial support (NFP-PhD CF7447/2011). Also, the staff of the UNESCO-IHE laboratory and the staff and management of Kaduna Refinery and Petrochemical Company (Kaduna, Nigeria) are acknowledged for their support.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hassana Ibrahim Mustapha
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. J. A. van Bruggen
    • 1
  • P. N. L. Lens
    • 1
  1. 1.UNESCO-IHEInstitute for Water EducationDelftThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Agricultural and Bio-resources EngineeringFederal University of TechnologyMinnaNigeria

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