Removal of Personal Care Products in Constructed Wetlands

  • Paola VerlicchiEmail author
  • Elena Zambello
  • Mustafa Al Aukidy
Part of the The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry book series (HEC, volume 36)


This chapter is an overview of the occurrence of common personal care products in the influent and effluent of different types of constructed wetlands fed with domestic wastewaters, acting as primary, secondary, or tertiary steps and the corresponding removal efficiency achieved by these treatments. The reviewed personal care products belong to eight different classes: 3 antioxidants, 2 antiseptics, 1 deodorant, 1 insect repellant, 1 plasticizer, 3 sunscreen products, 5 synthetic musks, and 16 surfactants (seven anionic and nine nonionic).

Data are collated from 35 peer review papers, referring to investigations carried out in Europe (66%), America (28%), and Asia (6%). Of the 87 treatment lines reviewed, the most common constructed wetland type was the horizontal subsurface flow (49%) followed by the surface flow (38%) and, in a few cases, the vertical subsurface flow. Removal was mainly influenced by redox potential, temperature, hydraulic retention time, and influent concentration of the compound.

The highest values of removal were found for fragrances in secondary systems and fragrances and triclosan in polishing systems.

Due to the different and simultaneous removal mechanisms occurring within these systems and their buffer capacity, they might represent a reliable and feasible treatment which is able to control and reduce the spread of personal care products in the aquatic environment.


Constructed wetlands Occurrence Personal care products Removal efficiencies Removal mechanisms 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paola Verlicchi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Elena Zambello
    • 1
  • Mustafa Al Aukidy
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EngineeringUniversity of FerraraFerraraItaly

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