Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Commercial Aquatic Plants Offer Cost-effective Method For Treating Wastewater

Date:
October 1, 2008
Source:
American Society for Horticultural Science
Summary:
Constructed wetlands (CWs) have been promoted as inexpensive, low-technology approaches to treating agricultural, industrial and municipal wastewater to comply with increasingly stringent environmental regulations. CWs, or marshes built to treat contaminated water, incorporate soil and drainage materials, water, plants and microorganisms. "Surface-flow" constructed wetlands resemble shallow freshwater marshes and generally require a large land area for wastewater treatment. More effective for greenhouse and nursery operations with limited production space and expensive land are a type of constructed wetland called "subsurface flow."

Nursery and greenhouse operations depend on the use of fertilizers, growth regulators, insecticides, and fungicides. Growers also rely on the use of soilless media, or substrate, in the production of container crops. Concerns arise when excessive irrigation of the container crops grown in soilless media leads to leaching and loss of nutrients and chemicals in runoff. The resulting runoff can escape from production areas and have a negative impact on surface and ground water.

The presence of nutrients in runoff and concerns of their impact on surface and groundwater quality has undergone increasing interest and scrutiny from the public, environmental groups, governmental agencies, and elected officials. Since its enactment, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has enforced provisions of the Clean Water Act related to point-source pollution. In 1999, the EPA began enforcing nonpoint source pollution controls, mandating that all states implement a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) program for all watersheds and bodies of water.

Constructed wetlands (CWs) have been promoted as inexpensive, low-technology approaches to treating agricultural, industrial, and municipal wastewater to comply with increasingly stringent environmental regulations. CWs, or marshes built to treat contaminated water, incorporate soil and drainage materials, water, plants, and microorganisms. "Surface-flow" constructed wetlands resemble shallow freshwater marshes and generally require a large land area for wastewater treatment. More effective for greenhouse and nursery operations with limited production space and expensive land are a type of constructed wetland called "subsurface flow". Subsurface flow wetlands consist of a lined or impermeable basin filled with a coarse medium, typically gravel, and wetland plants. Wastewater flows horizontally or vertically below the surface of the media to prevent exposure to humans or wildlife.

Robert Polomski and his colleagues at Clemson University published a study in the June 2008 issue of HortScience that investigated the nitrogen and phosphorus removal potential by a vegetated, laboratory-scale subsurface flow system. "In this study, we investigated a cost-effective approach of reducing water treatment costs. Instead of traditional wetland plants, we found that commercially available aquatic garden plants can be used in a production/remediation system."

Over an eight-week period, five commercially available aquatic garden plants received a range of nitrogen and phosphorus that spanned the rates detected in nursery runoff. According to Polomski, "the results support the use of aquatic garden plants as aesthetic and economically viable alternatives to traditional wetland plants in constructed wetlands. Although more research is necessary to address other variables, the study concluded that the use of commercially produced plants in constructed wetlands has the potential to generate revenue for producers.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Danforth, P.E., Waliczek, T.M., Macey, S.M., Zajicek, J.M. The Effect of the National Wildlife Federation's Schoolyard Habitat Program on Fourth Grade Students' Standardized Test Scores. HortTechnology, 18: 325-544 (2008) [link]

Cite This Page:

American Society for Horticultural Science. "Commercial Aquatic Plants Offer Cost-effective Method For Treating Wastewater." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080929104607.htm>.
American Society for Horticultural Science. (2008, October 1). Commercial Aquatic Plants Offer Cost-effective Method For Treating Wastewater. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080929104607.htm
American Society for Horticultural Science. "Commercial Aquatic Plants Offer Cost-effective Method For Treating Wastewater." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080929104607.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The satellite is back under ground control after a tense few days, but with a gecko sex experiment on board, the media just couldn't help themselves. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins