Chromium fate in constructed wetlands treating tannery wastewaters


Nine experimental wetlands were built to determine chromium partitioning inside systems treating tannery wastewaters. Results showed 5-day biochemical oxygen demand and chromium removals of 95 to 99% and 90 to 99%, respectively. The majority of chromium was found in association with media (96 to 98%), followed by effluents (2.9 to 3.9%), and the least was found in plant parts (0.1%). Chemical speciation modeling of solutions and scanning electron microscope analysis suggest two potential chromium removal mechanisms - sorption/coprecipitation with iron hydroxides or oxyhydroxides and biomass sorption. The release of the majority of chromium in the iron- and organic-bound phases during sequential extractions supports the proposed dominant removal mechanisms. The use of a mixture of peat and gravel resulted in lower removal efficiencies and stronger partitioning in organic phases during sequential extractions. Chromium was efficiently removed by wetlands, retained through chemical and biological processes. Future research will focus on further exploring removal mechanisms and proposing management strategies for the chromium-containing wetland media.

Publication Title

Water Environment Research