A high loading overland flow system: Impacts on soil characteristics, grass constituents, yields and nutrient removal

C. G. Wen, T. H. Chen, F. H. Hsu, C. H. Lu, J. B. Lin, C. H. Chang, S. P. Chang, C. S. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The objectives of this paper are to determine effects of different grass species and their harvests on pollutant removal, elucidate impacts on soil characteristics and grass constituents, observe grass yield and quantify nutrient uptake by vegetation in an overland flow system (OLFS). Polluted creek water was applied to eight channels in the OLFS, which were planted with Paragrass, Nilegrass, Cattail, and Vetiver, with each two channels being randomly planted with a given grass species. The grass in one channel was harvested while that in the other channel was not. At a high rate of 27.8 m d-1 hydraulic loading, the removal efficiencies of conventional pollutants such as BOD, COD, suspended solids (SS), and total coliforms in wastewater are not affected by the type of the grasses species, but those of nitrogen and phosphorus are affected by different species. Overall average removal efficiencies of BOD, COD, SS, ammonia, total nitrogen, total phosphorus and total coliforms through the OLFS are 42%, 48%, 78%, 47%, 40%, 33% and 89%, respectively. The concentration of nitrate, however, increases due to nitrification. Soil characteristics in OLFS have been changed significantly; specific conductivity, organic matter, exchangeable magnesium, extractable copper and zinc in soils all increase with time while pHs decrease. During the winter season, there is a significant accumulation of nitrate in grass with the subsequent reduction during the active growing season (Spring). The contents of nitrate and phosphorus in grass tissue are higher than those of grass in general pastureland, probably due to nutrient luxury uptake by grass. The overall grass yield, growth rate and nutrient uptake are quantified and implication of such high rate OLFS discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1588-1600
Number of pages13
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Apr

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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