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Providing Students with Hands-on Experiences Through the Construction of a Treatment Wetland

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Problem- Project- and Case-based Learning in Environmental Engineering

Tagged Division

Environmental Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1283.1 - 26.1283.10



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Paper Authors

author page

Jennifer Mueller PE P.E. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Providing Students with Hands-on Experiences through the Construction of a Treatment WetlandBecause of their natural water treatment capabilities, wetlands have been constructed for onsitetreatment of stormwater and wastewater. As municipalities work to reduce the impacts of poorstormwater quality and potential combined sewer overflows on receiving water bodies,constructing treatment wetlands is a growing practice. Treatment wetlands provide a sustainableapproach of onsite stormwater and wastewater treatment by improving the quality of stormwaterrunoff that enters receiving water bodies and by reducing loads on centralized treatment plants.To provide students with a hands-on experience of applying this treatment technique, twoundergraduate students, under the direction of their advising professor, constructed a treatmentwetland in the _____________________ on the ____________________________ campus. Afterresearching constructed treatment wetlands and identifying our design requirements, we developeddesign alternatives and analyzed the alternatives with a decision matrix to develop the final designspecifications. The final design included six separate basins in two parallel lines. The initialbasins in each line were designed as sediment traps with sands as the primary component of thesoil media. For the second basin, one line had a subsurface wetland and the other had a free watersurface wetland. The final basins in each line were designed as finishing basins with a slightlyhigher clay content to promote phosphorus removal.The primary objective of the constructed wetland is to test its capabilities to remove nutrients,suspended solids, and organic material from stormwater and/or wastewater. To test the removalefficiency of the treatment wetland system, we collected a stormwater sample from campus andpumped it through the wetland. Water samples were then collected at the outlet of each subbasinto investigate removal of nutrients, suspended solids, and organic material at each stage throughthe wetland system. Beyond the initial construction and testing, the main goal of having afunctioning wetland system is to utilize the treatment wetland for laboratory experiments in______ Environmental Engineering Lab course, as well as for future student research projects andpotential demonstrations in other courses at ______________. This will provide students with anactive learning experience by performing tests of treatment capabilities on a real constructedwetland.

Mueller, J. (2015, June), Providing Students with Hands-on Experiences Through the Construction of a Treatment Wetland Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24620

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