Cleaning Brassware Factory Water with Engineered Wetlands

Jim Crocker
10th April, 2024

Cleaning Brassware Factory Water with Engineered Wetlands

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • In Fez, Morocco, constructed wetlands with plants effectively treat brassware industry wastewater
  • Chrysopogon zizanioides removed 98.82% of nickel; Vitex agnus-castus excelled in reducing nitrates and copper
  • All planted systems surpassed the unplanted control in purifying water, highlighting plants' vital role
Constructed wetlands (CWs) are a natural approach to tackling the pollution problem posed by industrial waste. In Fez, Morocco, the brassware industry is a significant source of environmental contaminants, particularly heavy metals, which are notoriously difficult to remove and pose serious risks to ecosystems and human health. Researchers from Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah University have conducted a study[1] to evaluate the effectiveness of CWs in treating wastewater from this industry, using a variety of plants known for their pollutant-removing abilities. The study set up ten vertical flow constructed wetlands, each planted with different species: Chrysopogon zizanioides, Typha latifolia, Phragmites australis, and Vitex agnus-castus. An additional system was left unplanted to serve as a control. Over ten weeks, the researchers measured parameters indicative of water quality, including pH, electrical conductivity, and the presence of various pollutants like suspended solids, organic matter, and heavy metals. The results were promising. The system with Chrysopogon zizanioides showed high elimination rates for most measured pollutants, including an impressive 98.82% for nickel. Vitex agnus-castus was particularly effective in reducing nitrates and copper, with removal rates of 84.48% and 99.10%, respectively. All planted systems outperformed the unplanted control, demonstrating the critical role of plants in purifying water. This study builds upon previous research that has shown the synergy between plants and their associated microorganisms, such as endophytic bacteria, in enhancing the remediation capabilities of CWs[2]. Plants not only take up contaminants directly but also create favorable conditions for microorganisms that degrade or transform pollutants. For instance, the radial oxygen loss from plant roots can create different microenvironments that support various microbial processes, including the breakdown of organic matter and the transformation of nitrogen compounds[3]. Moreover, the study's findings suggest that CWs can handle not just organic pollutants but also engineered nanomaterials, such as silver nanoparticles, which are increasingly found in industrial effluents[4]. The plants in the CWs can maintain high removal efficiency over time, despite the potential stress caused by exposure to these contaminants. The research also aligns with the broader understanding of phytoremediation—the use of plants to clean up contaminated environments. It supports the idea that the combination of certain plants with additives like chelators, which bind to metals and enhance their uptake by plants, could improve the removal of metals from wastewater without harming the plants[5]. In conclusion, the study from Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah University offers a practical and sustainable solution for treating brassware effluent, a significant source of pollution in Fez. By harnessing the natural processes within constructed wetlands, this approach not only addresses the immediate challenge of industrial pollution but also contributes to the advancement of ecological engineering. The success of the CWs planted with Chrysopogon zizanioides and Vitex agnus-castus in removing a range of pollutants underscores the potential for these systems to be tailored to specific industrial applications, paving the way for cleaner water and a healthier environment.



Main Study

1) Performance of vertical flow constructed wetland for the treatment of effluent from a brassware industry in city of Fez, Morocco: a laboratory scale study.

Published 9th April, 2024

Related Studies

2) Plant-endophyte synergism in constructed wetlands enhances the remediation of tannery effluent.

3) Vertical-scale spatial influence of radial oxygen loss on rhizosphere microbial community in constructed wetland.

4) Removal and fate of silver nanoparticles in lab-scale vertical flow constructed wetland.

5) Removal of toxic metals from wastewater in constructed wetlands as a green technology; catalyst role of substrates and chelators.

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