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A decision tree framework to support design, operation, and performance assessment of constructed wetlands for the removal of emerging organic contaminants

Abstract : There is an increasing focus on research related to the removal of emerging organic contaminants (EOCs) from wastewater by using constructed wetlands (CWs). However, research is lacking on translating the available scientific evidence into decision support tools. In this paper, a novel decision tree framework is developed and demonstrated. The proposed framework consists of five steps: (1) generate a list of EOCs by the analysis of the wastewater; (2) select the best type of CW for each of the selected EOCs; (3) select a final type of CW for the removal of the selected EOCs; (4) identify detailed design and operational features of the proposed CW such as, depth, area, plants, support matrix, hydraulic loading rate, organic loading rate, and hydraulic retention time; and (5) assess the expected removal efficiency of EOCs in the selected CW. A novel decision support tool, named as DTFT-CW, was developed to generate data and information for the application of the proposed decision tree framework. DTFT-CW (given as a supplementary material) was developed using Microsoft Excel 2016 to support decisions on the design, operation, and performance of CWs for the removal of 59 EOCs (33 pharmaceuticals-PhCs, 15 personal care products-PCPs, and 11 steroidal hormones-SHs). The paper demonstrates the usefulness of the developed decision-making tools by considering 19 EOCs (13 PhCs, one PCPs, and five SHs) as an example, which pose high environmental risk and are on the European Union watch list (six of the 19 EOCs). An integrated design of HCW (combining vertical flow CW, horizontal flow CW-HFCW, and free water surface CW) is recommended for the treatment of multiple EOCs instead of a single type of CW such as HFCW that is most widely used in practice. The proposed tools could be useful for decision makers such as policy makers, design engineers, and researchers.
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Submitted on : Friday, April 2, 2021 - 11:23:52 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, June 30, 2021 - 9:40:16 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Saturday, July 3, 2021 - 6:22:50 PM

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Huma Ilyas, Ilyas Masih, Eric D. van Hullebusch. A decision tree framework to support design, operation, and performance assessment of constructed wetlands for the removal of emerging organic contaminants. Science of the Total Environment, Elsevier, 2021, 760, pp.143334. ⟨10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.143334⟩. ⟨insu-03188601⟩

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