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International Journal of Environmental Analytical Chemistry
Year: 2011  |  Volume: 91  |  Issue: 7  |  Page No.: 753 - 767

Heavy metals in Phalaris arundinacea growing in a constructed wetland treating municipal sewage

Jan Vymazal, Lenka Kropfelova, Jaroslav Svehla and Jana Nemcova    

Abstract: Constructed wetlands with horizontal subsurface horizontal flow are commonly used for treatment of municipal sewage and are well monitored for removal of organics, suspended solids, nutrients and bacteria. However, the information on removal of heavy metals and their sequestration in plants growing there is very limited. The present study deals with sequestration of six heavy metals in Phalaris arundinacea growing in a constructed wetland treating municipal sewage in the Czech Republic during the period 2004–2008. The aboveground biomass of Phalaris arundinacea is higher that the average Phalaris biomass in other Czech constructed wetlands and also as compared to natural stands. Contrary to natural stands, the root to shoot (R/S) ratio is lower than 1.0 and varied between 0.34 and 0.68 with a mean value of 0.49. For all studied heavy metals the concentrations are the highest in the roots while in other parts, i.e. leaves, stems, rhizomes and flowers, the concentrations usually do not differ significantly. Because of low belowground biomass, the standings stocks are higher aboveground for Zn, Cd, Pb and Cu with copper standing stock being significantly higher than belowground. On the other hand, for Cr and Ni the belowground standing stocks were significantly higher than aboveground because of very high Cr and Ni concentrations in the roots. In most cases the concentrations found in our study are within the order of magnitude as compared to results from other constructed wetlands and natural stands. Heavy metal aboveground standing stocks represented between 1.6% (Cr) and 15.1% (Cd) of the annual metals inflow with an average value of 6.5%. The amount of heavy metals sequestered in the aboveground biomass accounted for between 3.7% (Zn) and 38.4% (Cd) of the heavy metal removal in the filtration beds with an average value of 13.2%.

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