The present work aimed to evaluate the capacity of constructed wetlands (CWs) to remove three emerging organic contaminants with different physicochemical properties: caffeine (CAF), oxybenzone (MBPh), and triclosan (TCS). The simulated CWs were set up with a matrix of light expanded clay aggregates (LECA) and planted with Spartina maritima, a salt marsh plant. Controlled experiments were carried out in microcosms using deionized water and wastewater collected at a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP), with different contaminant mass ranges, for 3, 7, and 14 days. The effects of variables were tested isolatedly and together (LECA and/or S. maritima). The presence of LECA and/or S. maritima has shown higher removal (around 61-97%) of lipophilic compounds (MBPh and TCS) than the hydrophilic compound (CAF; around 19-85%). This was attributed to the fact that hydrophilic compounds are dissolved in the water column, whereas the lipophilic ones suffer sorption processes promoting their removal by plant roots and/or LECA. In the control (only wastewater), a decrease in the three contaminant levels was observed. Adsorption and bio/rhizoremediation are the strongest hypothesis to explain the decrease in contaminants in the tested conditions.
- Constructed wetlands
- Spartina maritima
- Emerging organic contaminants