The role of free water surface constructed wetlands as polishing step in municipal wastewater reclamation and reuse

A. Ghermandi, D. Bixio, C. Thoeye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In Europe, the last two decades witnessed growing water stress, both in terms of water scarcity and quality deterioration, which prompted many municipalities for a more efficient use of the water resources, including a more widespread acceptance of water reuse practices. Treatment technology encompasses a vast variety of options. Constructed wetlands are regarded as key elements in polishing conventionally treated wastewater for recreational and environmental applications. A survey was conducted to assess the performance of tertiary free water surface constructed wetlands in treating both key and emerging contaminant categories in the perspective of water reuse. A database was created with information concerning systems with emerging and free-floating macrophytes. The database includes results from both full- and pilot-scale systems, and considers a broad variety of operating conditions. This paper provides an overview of the treatment performances of the constructed wetlands in the database and discusses their significance in the optic of water reclamation and reuse practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-258
Number of pages12
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - 15 Jul 2007
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Part of this work has been funded by the European Commission within the AQUAREC project on “Integrated Concepts for Reuse of Upgraded Wastewater” (EVK1-CT-2002-00130) under the Fifth Framework Programme contributing to the implementation of the Key Action “Sustainable Management and Quality of Water” within the Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development thematic programme.


  • Free water surface constructed wetlands
  • Tertiary treatment
  • Wastewater reclamation
  • Water reuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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