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Hydrological and hydraulic behaviour of a surface flow constructed wetland treating agricultural drainage water in northern Italy

  • Autori: Lavrnic S.; Alagna V.; Iovino M.; Anconelli S.; Solimando D.; Toscano A.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2020
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista
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A surface flow constructed wetland (SFCW) treating agricultural drainage water was investigated with the aim to detect modifications in hydrological and hydraulic characteristics after more than a decade of operation. Ponded infiltration tests were conducted to estimate the saturated hydraulic conductivity, Ks, of the surface soil layer at the point scale. At the global scale, infiltration rate, i, was computed from the water balance to detect leakages from the pervious wetland surface. Tracer tests were conducted to analyse the existence of preferential flow inside the system and to estimate its hydraulic retention time (HRT). Clogging phenomena occurred given a mean Ks value of 30 mm h-1 was measured near the SFCW inlet, that was 9.61 times lower than the value at the outlet zone. The estimated infiltration losses were two orders of magnitude lower than infiltration measured at the point scale. The results also confirmed the existence of a moderate amount of preferential flow paths and dead zones in the SFCW as the actual HRT (6.7 days) was shorter than the nominal one (8.1 days). Despite this, it can be concluded that the system performance is still good after 17 years of operation.