Soil Aquifer Treatment (SAT) and Constructed Wetlands (CW) Applications for Nutrients and Organic Micropollutants (OMPs) Attenuation Using Primary and Secondary Wastewater Effluents

  • Ahmed F. Hamadeh

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Constructed wetlands (CW) and soil aquifer treatment (SAT) represent natural wastewater treatment systems (NWTSs). The high costs of conventional wastewater treatment techniques encourage more studies to investigate lower cost treatment methods which make these appropriate for developing and also in developed countries. The main objective of this research was to investigate the removals of nutrients and organic micropollutants (OMPs) through SAT, CW and the CW-SAT hybrid system. CWs are an efficient technology to purify and remove different nutrients as well as OMPs from wastewater. They removed most of the dissolved organic matter (DOC), total nitrogen (TN), ammonium and phosphate. Furthermore, CWs aeration could be used as one of the alternatives to reduce CWs footprint by around 10%. The vegetation in CWs plays an essential role in the treatment especially for nitrogen and phosphate removals, it is responsible for the removal of 15%, 55%, 38%, and 22% for TN, dissolved organic nitrogen (DON), nitrate and phosphate, respectively. CWs achieved a very high removal for some OMPs; they attenuated acetaminophen, caffeine, fluoxetine and trimethoprim (>90%) under different redox conditions. Moreover, it was found that increasing temperature (up to 36 C) could enhance the removals of atenolol, caffeine, DEET and trimethoprim by 17%, 14%, 28% and 45%, respectively. On the other hand, some OMPs, were found to be removed by vegetation such as: acetaminophen, caffeine, fluoxetine, sulfamethoxazole, and trimethoprim. Moreover, atenolol, caffeine, fluoxetine and trimethoprim, showed high removal (>80%) through SAT system. It was also found that, temperature increasing and using primary instead of secondary effluent could enhance the removal of some OMPs. The CWs performance study showed that these systems are adapted to the prevailing extreme arid conditions and the average percent removals are about, 88%, 96%, 98%, 98% and 92%, for COD, BOD and TSS, ammonium and phosphate, respectively. Additionally, the natural hybrid system (CW-SAT) can provide an effective treatment technology of reclaimed water for replenishing aquifers and subsequent reuse. This hybrid system embodied the performance advantages of both processes and exhibits a high potential for removal of OMPs, nutrients, metals as well as pathogens, bacteria and viruses.
Date of AwardJun 2014
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Biological, Environmental Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorGary Amy (Supervisor)


  • Soil Aquifer Treatment
  • Constructed Wetlands
  • Wastewater Treatment
  • organic micropollutants
  • Anammox
  • Natural Hybrid System

Cite this