Metal distribution and stability in constructed wetland sediment

Anna Sophia Knox, Michael H. Paller, Eric A. Nelson, Winona L. Specht, Nancy V. Halverson, John B. Gladden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


The A-01 wetland treatment system (WTS) is a surface flow wetland planted with giant bulrush [Schoenoplectus californicus (C.A. Mey.) Palla] that is designed to remove Cu and other metals from the A-Ol National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) effluent at the Savannah River Site near Aiken, SC. Copper, Zn, and Pb concentrations in water were usually reduced 60 to 80% by passage through the treatment system. The Cu concentrations in the wetland sediments increased from about 4 to 205 and 796 mg kg-1, respectively, in the organic and floe sediment layers in cell 4A over a 5-yr period. Metal concentrations were higher in the two top layers of sediment (i.e., the floe and organic layers) than in the deeper inorganic layers. Sequential extraction was used to evaluate remobilization and retention of Cu, Pb, Zn, Mn, and Fe in the wetland sediment. Metal remobilization was determined by the potentially mobile fraction (PMF) and metal retention by the recalcitrant factor (RF). The PMF values were high in the floe layer but comparatively low in the organic and inorganic layers. High RF values for Cu, Zn, and Pb in the organic and inorganic layers indicated that these metals were strongly bound in the sediment. The RF values for Mn were lower than for the other elements especially in the floe layer, indicating low retention or binding capacity. Retention of contaminants was also evaluated by distribution coefficient (K d) values. Distribution coefficient (Kd) values were lower for Cu and Zn than for Pb, indicating a smaller exchangeable fraction for Pb.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1948-1959
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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