Abstract

This study describes the first Norwegian microbial source tracking (MST) approach for water quality control and pollution removal from catchment run-off in a nature-based treatment system (NBTS) with a constructed wetland. The applied MST tools combined microbial analyses and molecular tests to detect and define the source(s) and dominant origin(s) of faecal water contamination. Faecal indicator bacteria Escherichia coli and host-specific Bacteroidales 16 s rRNA gene markers have been employed. The study revealed that the newly developed contribution profiling of faecal origin derived from the Bacteroidales DNA could quantitatively distinguish between human and non-human pollution origins. Further, the outcomes of the MST test have been compared with the results of both physicochemical analyses and tests of pharmaceutical and personal care products (PPCPs). A strong positive correlation was discovered between the human marker and PPCPs. Gabapentin was the most frequently detected compound and it showed the uppermost positive correlation with the human marker. The study demonstrated that the NBTS performs satisfactorily with the removal of E. coli but not PPCPs. Interestingly, the presence of PPCPs in the water samples was not correlated with high concentrations of E. coli. Neither has the latter an apparent correlation with the human marker.

Abstract

Area-efficient constructed systems for stormwater management and bioretention may involve large fluc-tuations in subsurface water levels. Such fluctuations challenge vegetation by forcing roots to exploredeeper layers to access water during dry periods. In a controlled experiment, we studied growth pat-terns and the ability of Phragmites australis roots to track subsurface water level fluctuations of differingamplitude and frequency in substrates with contrasting water-holding capacity. We found that P. aus-tralis was able to adjust its rooting pattern to considerable subsurface water level fluctuations (to wellbelow 120 cm), but that substrate characteristics can restrict its ability to adjust to larger fluctuations.Fluctuation amplitude was the driving factor for plant growth and biomass allocation responses, whilesubstrate characteristics and fluctuation frequency were less important. When not exposed to large waterlevel fluctuations, P. australis grew larger shoots and only explored intermediate rooting depths. Therewas a negative relationship between root and rhizome biomass, showing a resource-based trade-off andshort-term costs of adjusting rooting patterns to large water level fluctuations. These results indicatethat P. australis is suited for systems with considerable subsurface water fluctuations, but constraints onits flexibility need to be investigated.

Abstract

Norwegian constructed wetlands (CWs) that treat domestic wastewater are classified as horizontal subsurface flow constructed wetlands (HSFCWs). Over the years of continuous performance, the HSFCWs operating under cold climate conditions have shown a high and stable treatment efficiency with regard to the removal of organic matter (>90 % BOD), nutrients (>50 % N and >90 % P) and microbes (>99 % bacteria). The majority of Norwegian HSFCWs are categorised as small (<50 pe) on-site, decentralised wastewater treatment systems. The Norwegian systems consist of three fundamental elements: a septic tank, a pre-filter (i.e. an aerobic vertical flow biofilter) and a horizontal flow saturated filter/wetland bed. The first, primary treatment step begins in the septic tank from which effluents are pre-treated in the second step occurring in the pre-filter/biofilter section and further in the third, final step taking place in the filter bed/HSFCW. The first and third treatment steps are quite common in systems with CWs, but the pre-treatment in biofilter(s) is mainly known from Norway. The main purpose of using the pre-treatment phase is to supply air during the cold season, to enhance nitrification processes, and to reduce the load of organic matter before entering the filter/wetland bed. If constructed and maintained correctly, the biofilters alone can remove 90 % BOD and 40 % N. Various filter/CW beds have been introduced for treatment of domestic wastewater (as complete or source-separated streams) in Norway, but the most common feature is the use of specific filter media for high phosphorus (P) removal. A few Norwegian municipalities also have limits with respect to nitrogen (N) discharge, but the majority of municipalities use 1.0 mg P/l as the discharge limit for small wastewater treatment systems. This particular limit affects the P retention lifetime of the filter media, which varies from system to system depending on the filter media applied, the type of wastewater treated, and the system design and loading rates. An estimated lifetime of filter media with regard to P removal is approximately 15–18 years for a filter/CW bed of a single household. After completing the lifetime, the filter media is excavated and replaced with new/fresh materials, allowing the system to operate effectively for another lifespan. Since the exploited media are P-rich materials, the main intention is their reuse in a safe and hygienic way, in which P could be further utilised. Therefore, the Norwegian systems can represent a complex technology combining a sustainable technique of domestic wastewater treatment and a bio-economical option for filter media reuse. This is a quite challenging goal for reclamation and recycling of P from wastewater. Thus, there are some scenarios of reusing the P-rich filter media as a complementary P fertiliser, a soil amendment or a conditioner, provided the quality is acceptable for utilisation in agriculture. Alternatively, the filter media could be reused in some engineering projects, e.g. green roof technology, road screening or construction of embankments, if the quality allows application in the environment. The core aspect of the reuse options is the appropriate quality of the filter media. As for the theoretical assumption, it should not be risky to reuse the P-rich media in agriculture. In practice, however, the media must be proven safe for human and environmental health prior to introducing into the environment.

Abstract

Elevated nutrient concentrations in streams in the Norwegian agricultural landscape may occur due to faecal contamination. Escherichia coli (E. coli) has been used conventionally as an indicator of this contamination; however, it does not indicate the source of faecal origin. This work describes a study undertaken for the first time in Norway on an application of specific host-associated markers for faecal source tracking of water contamination. Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) on Bacteroidales host-specific markers was employed for microbial source tracking (MST) to determine the origin(s) of faecal water contamination. Four genetic markers were used: the universal AllBac (Bacteroidales) and the individual specific markers BacH (humans), BacR (ruminants) and Hor-Bac (horses). In addition, a pathogenicity test was carried out to detect the top seven Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) serogroups. The ratio between each individual marker and the universal one was used to: (1) normalise the markers to the level of AllBac in faeces, (2) determine the relative abundance of each specific marker, (3) develop a contribution profile for faecal water contamination and (4) elucidate the sources of contamination by highlighting the dominant origin(s). The results of the qPCR MST analyses indicated the actual contributions of humans and animals to faecal water contamination. The pathogenicity test revealed that water samples were STEC positive at a low level, which was in proportion to the concentration of the ruminant marker. The outcomes were verified statistically by coupling the findings of major contamination sources with observations in the field regarding local land use (residential or agricultural). Furthermore, clear correlations between the human marker and E. coli counts as well as the ruminant marker and STEC quantity in faecally contaminated water were observed. The results of this study have the potential to help identify sources of pollution for targeted mitigation of nutrient losses.

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Abstract

Antimony (Sb) in air pollution control (APC) residues from municipal solid waste incineration has gained increased focus due to strict Sb leaching limits set by the EU landfill directive. Here we study the chemical speciation and solubility of Sb at the APC treatment facility NOAH Langøya (Norway), where iron (Fe)-rich sulfuric acid (∼3.6 M, 2.3% Fe(II)), a waste product from the industrial extraction of ilmenite, is used for neutralization. Antimony in water extracts of untreated APC residues occurred exclusively as pentavalent antimonate, even at low pH and Eh values. The Sb solubility increased substantially at pH <10, possibly due to the dissolution of ettringite (at alkaline pH) or calcium (Ca)-antimonate. Treated APC residues, stored anoxically in the laboratory, simulating the conditions at the NOAH Langøya landfill, gave rise to decreasing concentrations of Sb in porewater, occurring exclusively as Sb(V). Concentrations of Sb decreased from 87 - 918 μg L−1 (day 3) to 18–69 μg L−1 (day 600). We hypothesize that an initial sorption of Sb to Fe(II)-Fe(III) hydroxides (green rust) and eventually precipitation of Ca- and Fe-antimonates (tripuhyite; FeSbO4) occurred. We conclude that Fe-rich, sulfuric acid waste is efficient to immobilize Sb in APC residues from waste incineration.

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Abstract

Nine filter beds have been constructed in the Nordic countries, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Filter beds consist of a septic tank followed by an aerobic pre-treatment biofilter and a subsequent saturated flow grass-covered filter. Thus, filter beds are similar to subsurface flow constructed wetlands with pre-treatment biofilters. but do not have wetland plants with roots submerged into the saturated filter. All saturated filters contain Filtralite (R) P. a light-weight expanded clay aggregate possessing high phosphorus sorption capacity. The filter bed systems showed stable and consistent performance during the. testing period of 3 years. Removal of organic matter measured as biochemical oxygen demand (BUD) was >80%, total phosphorus (TP) >94% and total nitrogen (TN) ranged from 32 to 66%. Effluent concentrations of fecal indicator bacteria met the European bathing water quality criteria in all systems. One system was investigated for virus removal and somatic viruses were not detected in the effluent. The investigations revealed that the majority of the BOD and nitrogen removal occurred in the pre-treatment filters and the phosphorus and bacteria removal was more prominent in the saturated filters. The saturated filters could be built substantially smaller than the current design guidelines without sacrificing treatment performance. The used filter material met the Norwegian regulations for reuse in agriculture with respect to heavy metals, bacteria and parasites. When saturated with phosphorus, the light-weight aggregate. Filtralite (R) P used in the saturated bed is a suitable phosphorus fertilizer and additionally has a liming effect. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Abstract

In 1991, the first subsurface flow constructed wetland for treatment of domestic wastewater was built in Norway Today, this method is rapidly becoming a popular method for wastewater treatment in rural Norway. This is due to excellent performance even during winter and low maintenance. The systems can be constructed regardless of site conditions. The Norwegian concept for small constructed wetlands is based on the use of a septic tank followed by an aerobic vertical down-flow biofilter succeeded by a subsurface horizontal-flow constructed wetland. The aerobic biofilter, prior to the subsurface flow stage, is essential to remove BOD and achieve nitrification in a climate where the plants are dormant during the cold season. When designed according to present guidelines a consistent P-removal of > 90% can be expected for 15 years using natural iron or calcium rich sand or a new manufactured lightweight aggregate with P-sorption capacities, which exceeds most natural media. When the media is saturated with P it can be used as soil conditioner and P-fertilizer. Nitrogen removal in the range of 40-60% is achieved. Removal of indicator bacteria is high and < 1000 thermotolerant coliforms/100 ml is normally achieved. In 1991, the first subsurface flow constructed wetland for treatment of domestic wastewater was built in Norway. Today, this method is rapidly becoming a popular method for wastewater treatment in rural Norway. This is due to excellent performance evenduring winter and low maintenance. The systems can be constructed regardless of site conditions. The Norwegian concept for small constructed wetlands is based on the use of a septic tank followed by an aerobic vertical down-flow biofilter succeeded by asubsurface horizontal-flow constructed wetland. The aerobic biofilter, prior to the subsurface flow stage, is essential to remove BOD and achieve nitrification in a climate where the plants are dormant during the cold season. When designed according topresent guidelines a consistent P-removal of > 90% can be expected for 15 years using natural iron or calcium rich sand or a new manufactured lightweight aggregate with P-sorption capacities, which exceeds most natural media. When the media is saturated with P it can be used as soil conditioner and P-fertilizer. Nitrogen removal in the range of 40–60% is achieved. Removal of indicator bacteria is high and < 1000 thermotolerant coliforms/100 ml is normally achieved.