Clogging in subsurface-flow treatment wetlands: measurement, modeling and management

Jaime Nivala, Paul Knowles, Gabriela Dotro*, Joan García, Scott Wallace

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper reviews the state of the art in measuring, modeling, and managing clogging in subsurface-flow treatment wetlands. Methods for measuring in situ hydraulic conductivity in treatment wetlands are now available, which provide valuable insight into assessing and evaluating the extent of clogging. These results, paired with the information from more traditional approaches (e.g., tracer testing and composition of the clog matter) are being incorporated into the latest treatment wetland models. Recent finite element analysis models can now simulate clogging development in subsurface-flow treatment wetlands with reasonable accuracy. Various management strategies have been developed to extend the life of clogged treatment wetlands, including gravel excavation and/or washing, chemical treatment, and application of earthworms. These strategies are compared and available cost information is reported.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1625-1640
Number of pages16
JournalWater Research
Issue number6
Early online date30 Dec 2011
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2012


  • constructed wetlands
  • design
  • domestic wastewater
  • horizontal flow
  • review
  • treatment wetlands
  • vertical flow


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