Metal Removal Kinetics, Bio-Accumulation and Plant Response to Nutrient Availability in Floating Treatment Wetland for Stormwater Treatment
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Floating treatment wetland (FTW) is a recent innovation to remove nutrients from stormwater, but little is known about its effectiveness for metal removal. This study aims to test the hypothesis that the metal removal performance of FTWs will be affected by nutrient (NH3-N, NO3-N, and PO4-P) availability in stormwater. Two experiments were carried out in nutrient-deficient tap water, and two experiments were carried out in nutrient-rich lake water using four native Australian plants, namely Carex fascicularis, Juncus kraussii, Eleocharis acuta, and Baumea preissii. Up to 81% Cu and 44.9% Zn removal were achieved by the plants in 16 days in tap water. A reduction in Cu and Zn removal of 28.4–57.3% and 1.0–19.7%, respectively, was observed in lake water compared with tap water for the same duration. The kinetic analysis also confirmed that plant metal uptake rates slowed down in lake water (0.018–0.088 L/mg/day for Cu and 0.005–0.018 L/mg/day for Zn) compared to tap water (0.586–0.825 L/mg/day for Cu and 0.025–0.052 L/mg/day for Zn). A plant tissue analysis revealed that E. acuta and B. preissii bioaccumulated more than 1000 mg/kg of both metals in their tissue, indicating high metal accumulation capacities. To overcome the slower metal uptake rate problem due to nutrient availability, future studies can investigate multi-species plantations with nutrient stripping plants and metal hyper-accumulator plants.
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