Early Life Performance of Stoneyford Integrated Constructed Wetland

Hall, L.1; Woodward, D. 1; McDermott, R. 1; McCurdy, D. 2; Griffin, J. 2; Crabbe, D.2
1Ulster University, 2 Northern Ireland Water, Northern Ireland



A lack of understanding of the design and appraisal of Integrated Constructed Wetlands (ICW) is limiting their development for domestic wastewater treatment in Northern Ireland. This study develops the understanding of ICWs, and their potential as sustainable alternatives to traditional wastewater treatment works. This information will aid in the decision making process for future provisions of ICWs.

A full scale, 5 pond system and small scale ‘Test Rig’ were pioneered by Northern Ireland Water and Ulster University to assess ICW appropriateness as wastewater treatment works and test key variables that impact performance, including ICW design, weather conditions and time.

Weekly samples were taken from each pond to monitor water quality for BOD, Ammonia, Suspended Solids and COD. Results identified and confirmed trends in ICW performance over time and area. Data from the small-scale test rig highlighted connections between design variables and treatment performance. The results found no significant correlation between changes in weather and ICW performance.


Design, Integrated Constructed Wetlands, Performance, Sustainable, Treatment, Wastewater


This paper considers the early life performance of Stoneyford Integrated Constructed Wetland in treating domestic wastewater in Northern Ireland. It details issues regarding the design, construction, operation and maintenance of an ICW from a full scale pilot system commissioned by Northern Ireland Water (NIW). The ICW is located at Stoneyford, County Antrim.

An ICW is an engineered system specifically designed to simulate the bio-filtration processes of a natural system to remediate contaminated wastewater. This is done using strategically chosen aquatic plants which filter and remove contaminants from the water as it flows through the ponds of the constructed wetland. ICWs are designed to work as an integrated ecosystem, combining the functions of the natural environment with human activities (Moshiri, G. A, 1993). In other words, they are a natural means of treating wastewater in a controlled and manageable method (Vymazal, J., 2011).

The use of an ICW is now regarded by Northern Ireland Water as a sustainable alternative to traditional wastewater treatment works and prompted the full-scale development at Stoneyford. There is currently a lack of understanding of the design principles and performance monitoring relating to the use of ICW’s for the treatment of domestic wastewater. This research uses data from the full-scale pilot scheme and small-scale test rig to further knowledge and understanding of design principals and wastewater treatment performance monitoring. This paper aims to improve the understanding of ICW performance for the treatment of domestic wastewater in Northern Ireland.

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