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Gary Broocks,

BSc (Hons) Environmental Protection, Bournemouth University, 2004

Constructed Wetlands on the Bourne Stream, Dorset: An Assessment of Water Quality and Highway Run-Off


Bournemouth Pier bathing beach has failed to comply with the "Guideline" standards, set in the Bathing Water Directive, in 10 out of the last 12 years, despite significant investment in reducing point source inputs. The main reason for this non-compliance is the Bourne Stream, which discharges close to the bathing water.

The aim of this study was to investigate whether two constructed wetlands on the stream were significantly improving the water quality of the stream. The first of the two wetlands, the on-line system was installed in March 2000. The second off-line system was installed in March 2001. The objectives of this study were to analyse general water quality data of the stream from 2001, 2002 and 2003, and to assess whether the wetlands were reducing highway run-off in the stream. The general water quality data included pH, dissolved oxygen, biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), E.coli, Total coliforms, nitrates and temperature. To assess if the wetlands were reducing highway run-off, samples were analysed using gas chromatography and samples of total dissolved solids were also taken.

The general water quality data from 2001 only showed significant effects on dissolved oxygen levels in the stream. The data from 2002 showed that the constructed wetlands made a significant difference to pH, dissolved oxygen and nitrate levels. The 2003 data only showed significant differences in dissolved oxygen, BOD and total coliforms.

Results from the gas chromatography data for hydrocarbons (2003) showed reductions in total naphthalene and n-alkanes of 75%. Samples taken from the off-line wetland showed a 50% reduction in hydrocarbons after 24 hours retention.

In conclusion the wetlands are making some improvements to the water quality of the stream. However studies undertaken by the Urban Pollution Research Centre and the Water Research Council into the use of constructed wetlands show much greater improvements in water quality.

Download paper (PDF 500kb)

Contact the author: garybroocks@yahoo.com

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