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    Use of dewatered alum sludge as a substrate in reed bed treatment systems for wastewater treatment
    In this paper, two laboratory scale simulated reed beds were investigated for the purpose of assessing the feasibility and effectiveness of using dewatered alum sludge as a possible substrate for wastewater treatment reed bed systems. One horizontal subsurface flow set-up and one vertical flow set-up were used. The horizontal flow system was planted with Phragmites australis while the vertical flow system was left unplanted. Thus, the latter was more akin to a sand filter system, but was examined with the potential use as a planted vertical reed bed system. The influent source used was farmyard wastewater. It is expected that the present study will provide the basis for long-term and large-scale trials in realising the concept of integrating “waste” into treatment processes. Results obtained so far have shown that the dewatered alum sludge holds great promise as a low-cost resource media for use in reed bed treatment systems. Appreciable and stable performance was obtained during the continuous operation at high hydraulic, organic and phosphorus loadings. In particular, both wetlands achieved over 90% phosphorus removal, reflecting the significant advantage of this novel approach over conventional reed bed treatment systems. However, extensive research into possible surface clogging and possible release of some substances from the sludge to the treated effluent is necessary to ensure reliability of the system. This will help make the alum sludge based reed bed environmentally and economically justifiable.
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