Recirculating vertical flow constructed wetland: green alternative to treating both human and animal sewage

J Environ Health. 2009 Nov;72(4):17-20.


Subsurface constructed wetlands using a recirculating vertical flow are a viable alternative technology to pretreating conventional residential septic systems effluents before underground discharge. The authors examined performance of a recirculating vertical flow constructed wetland (RVFCW) to treat both human and domestic animal sewage from the LaGrange County (Indiana) Animal Shelter. Effluent water samples were analyzed for the five-day biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5), total suspended solids (TSS), ammonia-nitrogen (AN), total Kjeldhal nitrogen (TKN), total nitrogen (TN), nitrate-nitrogen, total phosphorus (TP) and fecal coliform bacteria (FC). Treatment efficiencies (percentage removal) after a two-year operation were high for BOD5 (99%), TSS (98%), AN (96%), TKN (94%), TN (83%), and FC (99%). Nitrate-nitrogen final mean value was 6.8 mg/L, dissolved oxygen concentration increased from 1.8 to 4.3 mg/L, and removal efficiency for total phosphorus was low (33%). These results show that vertical flow constructed wetlands are a green alternative to remove pollutants generated for both human and domestic animals.

MeSH terms

  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Environmental Restoration and Remediation / instrumentation
  • Environmental Restoration and Remediation / methods*
  • Humans
  • Indiana
  • Nitrogen Compounds
  • Sewage*
  • Water Purification / methods*
  • Water Supply / analysis
  • Wetlands*


  • Nitrogen Compounds
  • Sewage