Two species of macrophytes, Baumea articulata and Schoenoplectus mucronatus, were examined for their capacity to remove phosphorus under nutrient-rich conditions. Forty large bucket systems with the two different species growing in two types of substrate received artificial wastewaters for nine months, simulating a constructed wetland (CW) under high loading conditions. Half of the plants growing in the topsoil and gravel substrates were periodically harvested whereas the other half remained intact. Plant tissue and substrate samples were regularly analysed to determine their phosphorus concentrations. With respect to phosphorus uptake and removal, the Schoenoplectus in the topsoil medium performed better than the Baumea. Biomass harvesting enhanced P uptake in the Schoenoplectus, however the effect was not significant enough to make an improvement on the overall P removal, due to the slow recovery of plants and regrowth of biomass after harvesting. From P partitioning, it was found that the topsoil medium was the major P pool, storing most of total P present in the system. Plant parts contributed only minor storage with approximately half of that P stored below ground in the plant roots. The overall net effect of harvesting plant biomass was to only remove less than 5% of total phosphorus present in the system.
Water Science and Technology Vol. 44, Issue 11-12, p. 61-67