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Constructed Wetlands for Water Pollution Control (2019)

Name of course:
Constructed Wetlands for Water Pollution Control

ECTS credits:
5 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System)

Course parameters:
Language: English
Level of course: PhD course
Time of year: 15 to 17 June 2019
No. of contact hours/hours in total incl. preparation, assignment(s) or the like: 120 hours, lectures, exercises and assignments
Capacity limits: unlimited

Objectives of the course:
The aim of the course is to provide participants with

  1. an overview of different types of constructed wetland systems, their applicability and their limitations,
  2. a thorough understanding of the processes of importance for the transformation and removal of nutrients and various pollutants in wetlands,
  3. the capability to prepare draft designs of constructed wetland systems for specific application using commonly accepted design tools, and
  4. an overview of current research needs, methodologies and options.

Learning outcomes and competences:
At the end of the course, the participants will be able to:

  1. characterize biogeochemical processes of importance for nutrient removal in wetlands,
  2. describe the functional role of different types of wetland plants in wetlands,
  3. describe different types of constructed wetland systems, their applicability and limitations,
  4. characterize the hydraulics of constructed wetland systems,
  5. characterize pollutant removal pathways and removal kinetics, and
  6. prepare initial draft designs of constructed wetland systems for wastewater treatment.

Compulsory programme:
Saturday: Introduction to course, morning/afternoon/evening lectures.
Sunday: Lectures in morning/afternoon/evening students presentations.
Monday: Lectures and exercises in the morning and afternoon.

Course contents:
The course will provide an overview of the ecology of freshwater wetlands including hydrology, wetland soil biogeochemistry, and wetland plant ecophysiology. The processes responsible for the transformation of organic matter, nutrients and micropollutants such as pharmaceuticals and personal care products in the wetland environment will be described. The state-of-the-art in design techniques based on hydraulics and pollutant removal models in different types of constructed wetland systems will be demonstrated. Practical design guidelines and management aspects such as system layout, compartmentalization, substrate selection, inlet and outlet structures, plant selection and planting will be presented. The use of constructed wetland for the treatment of different types of wastewaters, such as domestic and different types of industrial wastewaters, will be demonstrated through case-stories from around the World, including systems established in different climate (cold-temperate areas, sub-tropics and tropics, arid and semiarid areas).

General knowledge of natural wetlands, constructed wetlands, polluted water characteristics

Name of lecturers:

  • Dr. Carlos A. Arias, Senior Researcher, Aarhus University, Denmark
  • Prof. Hans Brix, Head of the Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Denmark
  • Dr. Dennis Konnerup, Assistant Professor AIAS, Aarhus University, Denmark
  • Dr. Pedro Carvalho, Researcher, Aarhus University, Denmark
  • Dr. Tom Headley, CEO Wetland & Ecological Treatment Systems, Australia
  • Dr. Peder Gregersen, CEO Centre for Recycling, Denmark
  • Dr. Steen Nielsen, Orbícon, Denmark
  • MSc. Rene Killian, CEO Killian Water, Denmark

Type of course/teaching methods:
Lectures, Exercises, Group work, Final assignment


  • Kadlec R. and Wallace S. (2009) Treatment Wetlands, by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
  • Gabriela Dotro, Günter Langergraber, Pascal Molle, Jaime Nivala, Jaume Puigagut, Otto Stein, Marcos von Sperling (2018). Volume 7, Treatment Wetlands Biological, IWA Wastewater Treatment Series.
  • Hans Brix, Carlos A. Arias (2005) The use of vertical flow constructed wetlands for on-site treatment of domestic wastewater: New Danish guidelines, Eco Eng. 25, 491 500
  • Hans Brix (2003) Plants used in constructed wetlands and their functions. 1st International seminar on the use of aquatic macrophytes for wastewater treatment in constructed wetlands, Portugal.
  • L. Davison, T. Headley and K. Pratt (2005) Aspects of design, structure, performance and operation of reed beds – eight years’ experience in northeastern New South Wales, Australia, Wat. Sci. and Tech Vol 51 No 10 pp 129-138
  • Wu, Shubiao; Lyu, Tao; Zhao, Yaqian; Vymazal, Jan; Arias, Carlos A; Brix, Hans (2018) Rethinking Intensification of Constructed Wetlands as a Green Eco-Technology for Wastewater Treatment. Environmental Science & Technology (Washington), Bind 52, Nr. 4, 01.02.2018, s. 1693-1694.
  • Steen Nielsen  Eleonora Peruzzi  Cristina Macci  Serena Doni  Grazia Masciandaro (2013) Stabilisation and mineralisation of sludge in reed bed systems after 10–20 years of operation, WAT, Sci and Tech 69 (3): 539-545.

More scientific literature will be presented during the course.

Course homepage:

Course assessment:
Class work - Pass/fail based on satisfactory participation in the course and on the written report that has to be prepared and submitted two weeks after the course. Prior to the course, each participant should prepare a poster addressing their research.

Department of Bioscience, Aquatic Biology, Aarhus University

Special comments on this course:
The course will be taught before the WETPOL 2019 meeting.

Accommodation and meals are not covered.  The students are responsible for their expenses: travel costs, accommodation and meals.

15 to 17 June 2019

Aarhus University Campus, Aarhus

Deadline for registration is 15 April 2019.

Information regarding admission will be sent out no later than 30 April 2019.

For registration:
Please contact Tove Nyholm Bager (tnb@bios.au.dk) or Carlos A. Arias (carlos.arias@bios.au.dk).

You will be asked to provide a brief description of your academic background as well as the relevance of the course for you. Information regarding admission will be sent out no later than 30 April 2019.

18681 / i43