Constructed Wetlands in El Salvador
This constructed wetland was installed in El Salvador by Florida International University’s Applied Research Center, as part of the US Army’s Western Hemisphere Information Exchange Program. Seen here shortly after planting, the constructed wetland provides a natural system for treating sewage. The system was composed of both a subsurface and surface constructed wetlands, in which the native plants’ root systems eliminate waste and purify the water. The system treats 44,000 gallons of sewage per day. Water entering the constructed wetland completes the purification cycle in just 16 days.
The constructed wetland uses native plants to purify the sewage water. In this project, we demonstrated the use of three different types of native plants. The photo on the right shows a section of the constructed wetlands, featuring one of the native plants, shortly after planting. The project was one of the first to test native tropical plants in a tropical environment for waste water treatment. Since then, the Applied Research Center used lessons learned from tropical wetlands to develop ideas for future construction of the wetlands, especially in tropical, mountainous and or flood prone areas.
The system can be used to complement the Biomass gasifier, as the water can be used to irrigate crops which, after harvesting is complete, would provide waste materials (corn stalks/bamboo/other materials) that can be used by the gasifier.