Biogeochemical indicators to evaluate pollutant removal efficiency in constructed wetlands

K. R. Reddy, E. M. D'Angelo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

197 Scopus citations


Wetlands support several aerobic and anaerobic biogeochemical processes that regulate removal/retention of pollutants, which has encouraged the intentional use of wetlands for pollutant abatement. The purpose of this paper is to present a brief review of key processes regulating pollutant removal and identify potential indicators that can be measured to evaluate treatment efficiency. Carbon and toxic organic compound removal efficiency can be determined by measuring soil or water oxygen demand, microbial biomass, soil Eh and pH. Similarly, nitrate removal can be predicted by dissolved organic C and microbial biomass. Phosphorus retention can be described by the availability of reactive Fe and Al in acid soils and Ca and Mg in alkaline soils. Relationships between soil processes and indicators are useful tools to transfer mechanistic information between diverse types of wetland treatment systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalWater Science and Technology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1997


  • Aquatic macrophytes
  • Decomposition
  • Microbial biomass
  • Nutrient cycling
  • Water quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology


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