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The effect of polymer contaminated oil produced wastewater on the growth and health of five emergent macrophytes in a pilot scale surface flow constructed wetland

Warmt-Murray, Marco (2015) The effect of polymer contaminated oil produced wastewater on the growth and health of five emergent macrophytes in a pilot scale surface flow constructed wetland. Other thesis, Murdoch University.

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A Water Treatment Plant (WTP) located in the south east Arabian Peninsula currently receives oil produced wastewater (PW) from local oilfields. Hydrocarbons are biologically treated/degraded within a series of vegetated surface flow constructed wetlands (SF CW) and then water is evaporated in large evaporation ponds. Over the next 5 years there are plans to increase the efficiency of oil production by injecting partially hydrolyzed polyacrylamide (HPAM) into oil fields located in the Middle East, raising oil production up to 12%. The broad aim of this report is to determine if the WTP will be able to receive HPAM contaminated PW, either with or without design modifications. The aim of this study was to evaluate the response of the five main wetland plant species used at the WTP, to the addition of HPAM contaminated PW, and to identify the effects of these responses on the treatment performance of PW in a SF CW system. Four SF CWs or trial wetlands (TW) (Length = 40 m x Width = 40 m) were designed to mimic the treatment wetland at the WTP. Each TW had a surface area of 1600 m2 and was planted with Phragmites australis, Schoenoplectus littoralis, Typha domingensis, Cyperus laevigatus and Juncus rigidus. Each TW received 30 m3 per day of PW contaminated with a different HPAM concentration (0 ppm (control), 250 ppm, 500 ppm and 1000 ppm). This report is based on data collected between 1st March 2015 and 31st of May 2015. No major effects to plant growth and health were observed when exposed to HPAM and no clear trends occur between treatments. Oil in Water (OiW) measurements at the outlets of all four TWs were less than 1 mg/l and an OiW removal efficiency of 97.5%, 97.8%, 96.9% and 96.8% was recorded for 0 ppm, 250 ppm, 500 ppm and 1000 ppm, respectively. This suggests the removal of hydrocarbons from polymer contaminated PW had little to no difference when compared to the control (0 ppm). On average the polymer contaminated TWs showed a 20 to 26% lower water loss compared to the control wetland. This implies a larger surface area would be required to achieve the same evaporation rates as the control TW. However, a long term study should be conducted in order to observe a full seasonal growth cycle to further substantiate the encouraging results obtained.

Item Type: Thesis (Other)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering and Information Technology
Supervisor(s): Anda, Martin and Dallas, Stewart
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