Constructed Wetlands provide a highly effective and relatively inexpensive alternative to conventional wastewater treatment facilities.

The traditional definition of a constructed wetland is given by (Hammer 1989)¬†as “a designed and man-made complex of saturated substrates, emergent and submergent vegetation, animal life, and water that simulates natural wetlands for human use and benefits.” A wetland, constructed or otherwise, develops anaerobic conditions periodically and supports vegetation designed to thrive in oxygen-deficient soils.

The benefits of constructed wetlands for wastewater treatment are:
  • They are relatively inexpensive to construct and operate.
  • They are easy to maintain.
  • They provide effective and reliable wastewater treatment
  • They can tolerate both great and small volumes of water and varying contaminant levels.
  • They can be aesthetically pleasing and provide habitat for wildlife and human enjoyment. (Hammer and Bastian, 1989).
The disadvantages of constructed wetlands for wastewater treatment are:
  • Depending on the design, they may require a relatively large land area compared to a conventional facility.
  • The design and operating criteria for this new science are not yet precise.
  • The biological and hydrological processes within a constructed wetland are not yet well understood.
  • There may be possible problems with pests. (Hammer and Bastian, 1989)