Mathematical model for analysis of recirculating vertical flow constructed wetlands. Academic Article uri icon


  • The recirculating vertical flow constructed wetland (RVFCW) was developed for the treatment of domestic wastewater (DWW). In this system, DWW is applied to a vertical flow bed through which it trickles into a reservoir located beneath the bed. It is then recirculated back to the root zone of the bed. In this study, a compartmental model was developed to simulate the RVFCW. The model, which addresses transport and removal kinetics of total suspended solids, 5-day biological oxygen demand and nitrogen, was fitted to kinetical results obtained from pilot field setups and a local sensitivity analysis was performed on the model parameters and operational conditions. This analysis showed that after 5 h of treatment water quality is affected more by stochastic events than by the model parameter values, emphasizing the stability of the RVFCW system to large variations in operational conditions. Effluent quality after 1 h of treatment, when the sensitivity analysis showed the parameter impacts to be largest, was compared to model predictions. The removal rate was found to be dependent on the recirculation rate. The predictions correlated well with experimental observations, leading to the conclusion that the proposed model is a satisfactory tool for studying RVFCWs.

publication date

  • January 1, 2010