The expansion of aquaculture and the recent development of more intensive land-based marine farms require efficient and cost-effective systems for treatment of highly nutrient-rich saline wastewater. Constructed wetlands with halophytic plants offer the potential for waste-stream treatment combined with production of valuable secondary plant crops. Pilot wetland filter beds, constructed in triplicate and planted with the saltmarsh plant Salicornia europaea, were evaluated over 88 days under commercial operating conditions on a marine fish and shrimp farm. Nitrogen waste was primarily in the form of dissolved inorganic nitrogen (TDIN) and was removed by 98.2 ± 2.2% under ambient loadings of 109-383 μmol l-1. There was a linear relationship between TDIN uptake and loading over the range of inputs tested. At peak loadings of up to 8185 ± 590 μmol l-1(equivalent to 600 mmol N m-2d-1), the filter beds removed between 30 and 58% (250 mmol N m-2d-1) of influent TDIN. Influent dissolved inorganic phosphorus levels ranged from 34 to 90 μmol l-1, with 36-89% reduction under routine operations. Dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) loadings were lower (11-144 μmol l-1), and between 23 and 69% of influent DON was removed during routine operation, with no significant removal of DON under high TDIN loading. Over the 88-day study, cumulative nitrogen removal was 1.28 mol m-2, of which 1.09 mol m-2was retained in plant tissue, with plant uptake ranging from 2.4 to 27.0 mmol N g-1dry weight d-1. The results demonstrate the effectiveness of N and P removal from wastewater from land-based intensive marine aquaculture farms by constructed wetlands planted with S. europaea. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.
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