Constructed Wetlands for Industrial Waste Water Treatment and Water Re-Use

Measures to achieve the aim of sustainable wastewater treatment, design and building of constructed wetlands for different types of industrial wastewater for selected enterprises in the food industry, monitoring in order to optimise systems performances

Short Description

The uncontrolled discharge of wastewater from industry seriously affects the quality of natural running waters. It presents a high risk for the population and can cause great ecological damage which can be economically evaluated. While this method has been successfully employed in the treatment of municipal wastewater for decades, little is known about the design and operation criteria needed to maximise its effectiveness for industrial applications.

In order to achieve the aim of sustainable wastewater treatment the project objective was to design and built constructed wetlands for different types of industrial wastewater for selected enterprises in the food industry which were continuously monitored in order to optimise systems performances. The experimental work was carried out in Slovenia, where at present only 30.6 per cent of industrial waste waster is currently treated.

The major research and development focus was on

  • refining the understanding of nutrient transformation mechanisms
  • biodegradation of pollutants
  • design and operation criteria
  • efficiency rates

These research efforts in the fields of constructed wetlands were combined with investigations for specific process optimisation and economic feasibility. Workshops were held in the companies to collect all relevant production data in a "quick scan" for a detailed material and energy flow analysis. The main features of environmental management accounting (EMA) were outlined on the basis of the data collected and an in-depth introduction to clean and sustainable production.

The results of the case studies showed that constructed wetlands - whether as single or combined wastewater treatment steps - provide an appropriate solution for many industrial applications.

The results of the project will

  • enable further optimisation of the performance efficiency of constructed wetlands,
  • facilitate profitability calculations, and
  • offer guidance for the treatment of specific industrial effluents using constructed wetlands

Project Partners

Project management

Dr. Arnold Stuhlbacher, JOANNEUM RESEARCH, Frohnleiten

Project collaborators

Dr. Hans Berghold, JOANNEUM RESEARCH, Graz
Dr. Marion Reinhofer, JOANNEUM RESEARCH, Frohnleiten
DI Christoph Brunner, JOANNEUM RESEARCH, Graz
DI Karin Taferner, JOANNEUM RESEARCH, Graz


JOANNEUM RESEARCH Forschungsgesellschaft mbH
Institut für Nachhaltige Techniken und Systeme - JOINTS
Forschungsbereich Ökosystemtechnik
Mauritzener Hauptstrasse 3, A-8130 Frohnleiten, AUSTRIA
Tel.: +43 (316) 876 - 1381
Fax: +43 (316) 876 - 1322