Phosphorus removal from trout farm effluents by constructed wetlands

Y. Comeau*, J. Brisson, J. P. Réville, C. Forget, A. Drizo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


Freshwater trout farms need a high and continuous clean water flow to keep fish exposed to a non-toxic ammonium concentration. As a result, the concentration of effluents from these farms are even below standard effluent criteria for municipal wastewater effluent for solids, nitrogen and phosphorus. Nevertheless, the mass of pollutants discharged, originating mostly from excreta and undigested fish food, must be reduced by simple and economical treatment processes. We designed and operated a three-stage system aimed at retaining solids by a 60 μm nylon rotating microscreen followed by treatment with a phosphorus-retaining constructed wetland system. Washwater from the microscreen was pumped to a series of two horizontal flow beds of 100 m3 each (0.6 m deep). Coarse (2 mm) and finer (< 2 mm) crushed limestone were used in each bed, respectively, with the first one being planted with reeds (Phragmites australis) and the second one designed to remove even more phosphorus by adsorption and precipitation. Preliminary results indicated that the microscreen captured about 60% of the suspended solids and that greater than 95% of the suspended solids and greater than 80% of the total phosphorus mass loads were retained by the beds. The potential of constructed wetlands as an ecologically attractive and economical method for treating fish farm effluents to reduce solids and phosphorus discharge appears promising.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-60
Number of pages6
JournalWater Science and Technology
Issue number11-12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2001


  • Constructed wetland
  • Fish farming
  • Phosphorus removal
  • Sludge treatment
  • Trout
  • Wastewater

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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