Feasibility of using ornamental plants in subsurface flow wetlands for domestic wastewater treatmentThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Constructed wetlands are possible low-cost solutions for treating domestic and industrial wastewater in developing countries such as Mexico. However, treatment of wastewater is not a priority in most developing countries unless communities can derive economic benefit from the water resources that are created by the treatment process. As part of our studies directed at improving the quality of water in the Rio Texcoco in central Mexico, we are determining the feasibility of using ornamental flowers for treatment of domestic wastewater. In a laboratory-scale study, we determined that subsurface flow wetlands planted with calla lilies could reduce levels of ammonia and nitrate in simulated domestic sewage. Results are presented on the optimal conditions for treatment of domestic wastewater in these systems. Floriculture activities in constructed wetlands could provide the economic benefits necessary to encourage communities in developing countries to maintain wastewater treatment systems.