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Emission Of N2O, N2, CH4, And CO2 From Constructed Wetlands For Wastewater Treatment And From Riparian Buffer Zones

S. Teiter, Ü. Mander
Published 2005 · Chemistry

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Abstract We measured nitrous oxide (N 2 O), dinitrogen (N 2 ), methane (CH 4 ), and carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) fluxes in horizontal and vertical flow constructed wetlands (CW) and in a riparian alder stand in southern Estonia using the closed chamber method in the period from October 2001 to November 2003. The replicates’ average values of N 2 O, N 2 , CH 4 and CO 2 fluxes from the riparian gray alder stand varied from −0.4 to 58 μg N 2 O-N m −2  h −1 , 0.02–17.4 mg N 2 -N m −2  h −1 , 0.1–265 μg CH 4 -C m −2  h −1 and 55–61 mg CO 2 -C m −2  h −1 , respectively. In horizontal subsurface flow (HSSF) beds of CWs, the average N 2 emission varied from 0.17 to 130 and from 0.33 to 119 mg N 2 -N m −2  h −1 in the vertical subsurface flow (VSSF) beds. The average N 2 O-N emission from the microsites above the inflow pipes of the HSSF CWs was 6.4–31 μg N 2 O-N m −2  h −1 , whereas the outflow microsites emitted 2.4–8 μg N 2 O-N m −2  h −1 . In VSSF beds, the same value was 35.6–44.7 μg N 2 O-N m −2  h −1 . The average CH 4 emission from the inflow and outflow microsites in the HSSF CWs differed significantly, ranging from 640 to 9715 and from 30 to 770 μg CH 4 -C m −2  h −1 , respectively. The average CO 2 emission was somewhat higher in VSSF beds (140–291 mg CO 2 -C m −2  h −1 ) and at the inflow microsites of HSSF beds (61–140 mg CO 2 -C m −2  h −1 ). The global warming potential (GWP) from N 2 O and CH 4 was comparatively high in both types of CWs (4.8 ± 9.8 and 6.8 ± 16.2 t CO 2  eq ha −1  a −1 in the HSSF CW 6.5 ± 13.0 and 5.3 ± 24.7 t CO 2  eq ha −1  a −1 in the hybrid CW, respectively). The GWP of the riparian alder forest from both N 2 O and CH 4 was relatively low (0.4 ± 1.0 and 0.1 ± 0.30 t CO 2  eq ha −1  a −1 , respectively), whereas the CO 2 -C flux was remarkable (3.5 ± 3.7 t ha −1  a −1 ). The global influence of CWs is not significant. Even if all global domestic wastewater were treated by wetlands, their share of the trace gas emission budget would be less than 1%.
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