Wastewater treatment using vertical subsurface flow constructed wetland in Indonesia.

Author:Kurniadie, Denny


Environmental pollution in Indonesia, especially at rivers, lakes and other public waters in recent years continues to increase. The main sources of water pollution in Indonesia are domestic wastewater (40%), industrial wastewater (30%) and the rest is contributed from agricultural wastewater, animal husbandry wastewater or others. Currently only around 25% of the wastewater has been given treatment before discharge into public waters, while the rest is discharged directly into public waters. This has created severe environmental pollution problem such as eutrophication and transmission of waterborne diseases (cholera, typhoid, dysentery and hepatitis). Water pollution in developing countries causing a lot of diarrheal diseases (Butler et al., 1990). Each day approximately 35,000 women and children died from diarrheal disease in many developing countries (Denny, 1997). Treatment of wastewater before entering the river or other public waters in Indonesia is still less done because of high cost of making adequate wastewater treatment facility. Constructed wetland for wastewater treatment is one of wastewater treatment alternative to conventional wastewater treatment system in Indonesia which is expensive and high-technology base. This method is derived from Germany in the 1960s. Since then many systems have been made in various countries. These systems use a variety of different configurations such as types of media (soil, sand and gravel) as well as various kinds of aquatic plants. This method is widely known by different names such as soil filter trench, biological-macrophytic, marsh bed, submerged vegetated bed, reed bed treatment system and in Germany is called pflanzenklaranlagen. Constructed wetlands for wastewater treatment by using aquatic plants have been widely used in various countries such as Germany (Geller et al., 1990); America (Byers and Young, 1995); Australia (Greenway and Simpson, 1996); England (Cooper and Boon, 1987); China (Yang et al., 1995), India (Juwarkar et al., 1995) and Czech (Vymazal et al., 1995; Faten et al., 2009). Until now this system is still used in rural areas of England because land costs are relatively cheap and sufficiently available. Some results showed that the efficiency of this system in reducing wastewater contaminants was high enough (Cooper and Boon, 1987). This system can reduce 99% BOD5, COD (95-99%), total N (71-97%) and total P (97-99%) (Geller, 1997). Other researchers reported that this system can decrease by 77-98% BOD5, COD (59-91%) and SS (77-99%) (Vymazal, 1996). Constructed wetland to treat house wastewater by using Phragmites karka in Sumedang, Indonesia can reduce BOD5 98.94%, COD 96.76%, PO4-P 91.92%, total nitrogen 53.71% and more than 98% for E.coli bacteria (Kurniadie and Kunze, 2000).

The objective of this study was to install one constructed wetland with a vertical flow system to treat sewage from farm house by using an aquatic macrophyte (Phragmites karka).


A constructed wetland (6 m long, 5 m wide and 1.2 m deep) to treat sewage from farm house of Padjadjaran University Research Station has been built in Jatinangor campus in July 2009. The constructed wetland is a subsurface flow constructed wetland (8 p.e., 30 [m.sup.2], vertical flow, continous feeding and drainage system spread over the whole bed area), planted with Phragmites karka at a density 16 plants per [m.sup.2]. The wastewater was mechanically pre-treated in a sedimentation tank (4 [m.sup.3]) and flowed into the filter bed via polyethylene pipe (15 m long) by gravity. Clay soil and polyethylene membrane were used...

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