Materials for enhancing denitrification performance in partially saturated vertical flow wetlands for marae
Permanent link to Research Commons versionhttps://hdl.handle.net/10289/16231
There are upwards of 773 marae in New Zealand which are responsible for many key events for the indigenous people, Māori, many of which are located rurally and have inadequate on-site wastewater treatment mostly comprising of a septic tank followed by land application. Māori have many strong beliefs about water and subsequently criteria surround the treatment of wastewater due to the effects it can have on people and environment. One proposed solution that meets criteria are treatment wetlands, more specifically partially saturated vertical flow wetlands which require a smaller footprint and produce better effluent than traditional wetland designs. NIWA (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research) has experimented with mesocosm scale versions of this design and has encountered issues with denitrification in the saturated zone. This research is therefore directed at enhancing denitrification in the saturated zone with materials that are able to supplement organic carbon for denitrification. Several woodchip materials (Eastern Cottonwood, Mahogany, Manuka, Eucalyptus, Crack Willow, Princess Tree and Pine) along with two industry by-product materials (Brewers Spent Grain and Slum gum) and Coir (Coconut derivative) were examined for denitrification capabilities and to serve in producing a leachate for dosing the proposed system to supplement organic carbon for denitrification. The research is split into three phases; the first examines the ability of materials to release organic carbon into water over 60 days, the second examines the same but over three 10 day cycles, and the third quantifies denitrification performance of the materials at lab scale. Results showed that producing a suitable leachate is not possible without the use of fresh material for each batch. By-product materials had great capacity for releasing organic carbon into water and denitrification (up to 85.5% nitrate removal) but had limited lifespans as media. While woodchip materials did not exhibit as great carbon release, they achieved comparable denitrification (74.2-74.5% nitrate removal) with long lifespans. Therefore, a woodchip and industry by-product mix could be the solution. Alternatively, there are many woodchip species, some which could have better denitrification capacity or suitable industry by-products with longer useful lifespans.
The University of Waikato
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