Constructed wetland systems are used to reduce pollutants and pathogens in wastewater effluent, but comparatively little is known about pathogen transport through natural wetland habitats. Fecal protozoans, including Cryptosporidium parvum, Giardia lamblia, and Toxoplasma gondii, are waterborne pathogens of humans and animals, which are carried by surface waters from land-based sources into coastal waters. This study evaluated key factors of coastal wetlands for the reduction of protozoal parasites in surface waters using settling column and recirculating mesocosm tank experiments. Settling column experiments evaluated the effects of salinity, temperature, and water type (pure versus environmental) on the vertical settling velocities of C. parvum, G. lamblia, and T. gondii surrogates, with salinity and water type found to significantly affect settling of the parasites. The mesocosm tank experiments evaluated the effects of salinity, flow rate, and vegetation parameters on parasite and surrogate counts, with increased salinity and the presence of vegetation found to be significant factors for removal of parasites in a unidirectional transport wetland system. Overall, this study highlights the importance of water type, salinity, and vegetation parameters for pathogen transport within wetland systems, with implications for wetland management, restoration efforts, and coastal water quality.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
- Food Science