Management of dairy waste in the Sonoran desert using constructed wetland technology

Martin M. Karpiscak, Robert J. Freitas, Charles P. Gerba, Luis R. Sanchez, Eylon Shamir

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


An integrated wastewater treatment facility, consisting of upper (solids separators, anaerobic lagoons, and aerobic ponds) and lower (wetland cells) subsystems, has been built to replace the lagoon at a dairy in Arizona, USA. The collection sump of the new waste treatment facility collects all dairy wastewater outflow. Wastewater is then pumped to solids separators, and flows by gravity to anaerobic ponds and aerobic ponds. The upper subsystem is expected to treat the water sufficiently so that the wetland cells may achieve further pollutant reductions. The lower subsystem, comprised of 8 surface wetland cells with an approximate surface area of 5000 m2, receives outflow from the ponds. The cells are planted with cattail (Typha domingensis), soft-stem bulrush (Scirpus validus), and reed (Phragmites australis). After treatment is completed via the lagoons and ponds followed by the wetland cells, the wastewater can be reused to flush barns or to irrigate crops. Performance of the overall system is evaluated by measuring physical, chemical and biological parameters in water samples taken from selected locations along the treatment system. Chemical parameters studied include biochemical oxygen demand, pH, total suspended solids, nitrogen species. Biological monitoring included coliforms (total and fecal) and Listeria monocytogenes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-65
Number of pages9
JournalWater Science and Technology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999
EventProceedings of the 1998 6th International Conference on Wetland Systems for Water Pollution Control - Sao Paulo, Braz
Duration: Sep 27 1998Oct 2 1998


  • Aerobic pond
  • Anaerobic lagoon
  • Biochemical oxygen demand
  • Constructed wetland
  • Dairy wastewater
  • Listeria monocytogenes
  • Nitrogen removal
  • Phragmites australis
  • Scirpus validus
  • Typha domingensis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology


Dive into the research topics of 'Management of dairy waste in the Sonoran desert using constructed wetland technology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this