Wetlands for waste water: an update

Using artificial wetlands to treat sewage is an innovative and low-cost way of filtering pollutants from waste water that is particularly well suited to rural communities. The VFW (vertical-flow wetland) system was developed by CSIRO's Division of Water Resources in the 1980s. The VFW system removes nutrients, notably phosphorus and nitrogen, the major pollutants of natural waterways, from primary-treated sewage effluent using aquatic macrophytes - large water plants - that thrive in low oxygen levels. A commercial-scale scheme is in operation at Coff's Harbour in NSW.

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