The School of Engineering & Applied Science has hosted a two-day international workshop about clogging in constructed wetlands. Otherwise known as reedbeds, constructed wetlands are an ideal method for treating wastewater from small communities. They use no electricity and can remove several types of pollutants including organic material, phosphates and heavy metals. The result is water of high quality that can be safely discharged into rivers.
Constructed wetlands also find important uses in treating surface waters contaminated by coal mining and rainwater washed off roads. An area of particular interest is the inclusion of such wetlands in urban developments such as Birmingham Eastside.
The seminar attracted experts from Argentina, India, Germany and Spain as well as the UK, who came together to discuss ways of allowing wetlands to operate more efficiently and for longer periods between maintenance. Delegates visited four local sewage treatment plants operated by Severn Trent Water where they saw demonstrations of the latest techniques for the measurement of clogging and the restoration of old wetlands.
Paul Knowles, who is currently completing his PhD at Aston, said: ‘The event offered the perfect platform to discuss the wetland clogging issue. I am confident that the topics raised during the various discussions will lead to new ways of tackling clogging, and will stimulate future research in wetland science.’
Words by Philip Davies and Louise Russell