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Wastewater treatment wetland
E. coli
Total phosphorus
Total nitrogen
Issue Date: 
Sovann, C., Irvine, K. N., Suthipong, S., Kok, S., & Chea, E. (2015). Dynamic modeling to assess natural wetlands treatment of wastewater in Phnom Penh, Cambodia: Towards an eco-city planning tool. British Journal of Environment and Climate Change, 5(2), 104-115.
Aims: A personal computer version of the Stormwater Management Model (PCSWMM) was applied to seamlessly link urban runoff, sanitary flow, pump station operations, and a natural wastewater treatment wetland in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, as a step towards developing a planning tool that could be used to explore urban development or climate change scenarios. Study Design: PCSWMM was calibrated with measured flow and water quality data and used to estimate total phosphorus, total nitrogen, detergents, and E. coli levels at the outlet of the wastewater treatment wetland for the period May 15 to July 1, 2011. Place and Duration of Study: Phnom Penh, Cambodia; January, 2011 to March, 2012.
Methodology: In support of model development, a limited water quality sampling program and bathymetric survey were conducted for the sewer and wetland system in both the dry and rainy seasons, 2011. Samples were analyzed for total nitrogen, total phosphorus, detergents, and E. coli. Sewer flow was measured continuously at 5 minute intervals to determine sanitary flow characteristics as input to the model and pump operation rules were determined through interviews with the pump operators and analysis of their data log books.
Results: Consistent with past studies, the sampling showed that the wetland was effective in treating municipal waste, particularly with respect to E. coli (99% reduction from sewage inputs) and detergents (86% reduction from sewage inputs). A lower treatment efficiency was observed for total phosphorus, at around 31%, while the treatment efficiency for total nitrogen was around 71%. The wetland was divided into four zones and PCSWMM was run in continuous mode for the period May 2-July 1, 2011. The mean levels of E. coli, detergents, total phosphorus, and total nitrogen estimated by the model for that time period compared favorably with sample results from the field campaign in August, 2011.
Conclusion: The naturally-occurring wetland treatment system in Phnom Penh is effective and fits well with the concepts of green infrastructure and eco-cities. PCSWMM is a useful decision-support and planning tool to explore various development and climate change scenarios in Phnom Penh.
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