The transport of bromide, a conservative tracer, and rhodamine WT (RWT), a photodegrading tracer, was evaluated in three wastewater-dependent wetlands near Phoenix, Arizona, using a solute transport model with transient storage. Coupled sodium bromide and RWT tracer tests were performed to establish conservative transport and reactive parameters in constructed wetlands with water losses ranging from (1) relatively impermeable (15%), (2) moderately leaky (45%), and (3) significantly leaky (76%). RWT first-order photolysis rates and sorption coefficients were determined from independent field and laboratory experiments. Individual wetland hydraulic profiles influenced the extent of transient storage interaction in stagnant water areas and consequently RWT removal. Solute mixing and transient storage interaction occurred in the impermeable wetland, resulting in 21% RWT mass loss from main channel and storage zone photolysis (10%) and sorption (11%) reactions. Advection and dispersion governed solute transport in the leaky wetland, limiting RWT photolysis removal (1.2%) and favoring main channel sorption (3.6%). The moderately leaky wetland contained islands parallel to flow, producing channel flow and minimizing RWT losses (1.6%).
Additional publication details
Conservative and reactive solute transport in constructed wetlands