Wetland Engineering as Part of an Integrated Green City Management

PARE Summer School 2014 Final Report

Urban area has many problems related to population, activities, resources, and environment. Related to those chains, there is a complicated problem in urban area that is competition between living place and green open space related to land resources combined with air pollution and greenhouse gas emission coming from electricity and transportation related to environment and sustainability of fossil fuel use.

As a solution for the complicated problems in urban area, our group was proposed an “integrated green area” for city management level. The “integrated green area” adopts wetlands system concept that combined with public facilities. Wetlands technologies utilise plants that can absorb certain kinds of pollutant such as organic matter and heavy metal so it can be used as wastewater treatment facilities coming from household. This facility can be combined with park or garden to provide green open area for urban people so it has aesthetic and landscape function. In addition, integration of wetlands technology and walkways or bicycle path by applying a porous pavement with subsurface constructed wetlands is a solution and effort to reduce private car utilisation. Thus, wetlands technologies combined with public facilities do have multiple benefits and can be alternative solution for urban area problems. Moreover, wetlands technology has additional benefit to preserve ecological wildlife. 

There are many specialisation in environmental engineering. One of specialisation in environmental engineering is wetland specialist. As an environmental engineer, I could take a role as wetlands and engineering consultant. The consultant would be responsible for design of wetland system. For this master plan, I will design a wetland system as wastewater facilities for domestic wastewater treatment. The integration between wetland system with public facilities such as park, garden, walkways, or bicycle path have to involve other field of expertise such as civil engineering, landscape architect, and urban planner. One of research paper that support my idea entitled “Artificial Wetlands and Water Quality Improvement” by R.B.E Shutes which is published in Journal of Environment International No. 26 (2001) page 441-447. Based on Shutes (2001), the constructed wetlands can be designed to form an aesthetically pleasing and functional landscape which can be incorporated into residential developments. In addition, they provide a valuable ecological habitat for wildlife (Shutes, 2001). Constructed wetlands can also be designed to treat urban runoff and leachate from landfill site (Shutes, 2001).

The design process of wetland system as wastewater facility started with analyzing wastewater characteristics both of quality and quantity. The quality of wastewater can be measured from several parameters such as organic content i.e. biochemical organic demand (BOD) or chemical organic demand (COD), total suspended solids (TSS), and metals (if any). The quantity of wastewater can be represented by the flow rate of wastewater. The design of wetland system is done based on local regulation for effluent standard or stream standard. From the standard provided, the calculation of organic load and hydraulic retention time (HRT) can be determined. Then, other design parameters such as site selection, types of water flow, and types of vegetation are decided based on the calculation and characteristics of wastewater and site.

Refers to my specialisation as an environmental engineer, it would be appropriate if I propose a research which is related to the master plan entitled “Performance analysis wetlands system as domestic wastewater treatment facilities for small communities in residential area”. The idea of research title is based on Shutes (2001) which state that the use of constructed wetlands to treat wastewater and other sources of water pollution is a valuable and appropriate technology to be used alone or in a combination with other systems, especially suitable for small communities in developing countries. In addition, The research was proposed because of demand of wastewater treatment facilities in urban area which is environmental-friendly without requirement of extensive area. 

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