Treatment Wetlands & Phytoremediation


(ENSC 545-001, Spring 2013)


Instructor: Dr. Zhi-Qing Lin

Office: 0328 SL


Phone: 650-2650


Class Schedule: Tuesdays, 6:30 pm-9:20 pm

Class Location: 2406 Peck Hall

Credit Units: 3

Office Hours: By appointment


Course Description:
The focus of this course is the use of treatment wetlands and phytoremediation technology to clean up contaminated environments. The course will introduce graduate or senior-level undergraduate students to basic concepts and principles on the hydrological, biogeochemical, and ecological processes, and the development of different treatment wetlands and phytoremediation systems. Various case studies will be given to illustrate the application of the remediation technologies in the cleanup of different polluted environmental substrates, including inorganic and/or organic contaminants in water, sediment, or soil.  Students will have opportunities of conducting research projects during the course of study.


Course Objectives:

1) To introduce major remediation functions of treatment wetlands and phytoremediation systems for cleanup of different contaminated substrates;

2) To examine the mechanisms of different remediation processes; and

3) To discuss the criteria of system-design, establishment, operation, and management for safe and effective application of treatment wetlands and phytoremediation technology.


Course Prerequisites:

A basic understanding of biology and general ecology is required.


Text Books:

Treatment Wetlands, 2nd edition, by R.H. Kadlec and R.L. Knight. CRC Press, 2008


Reference Book:

1) Introduction to Phytoremediation, by US EPA, EPA/600/R-99/107, 2000. (

2) Biochemical Mechanisms of Detoxification in Higher Plants: Basis of Phytoremediation, by G. Kvesitadze, G. Khatisashvili, T. Sadunishvili, and J.J. Ramsden. Springer, 2006


Grading Policy:

Class exams: Material presented in class lectures and required readings will form the basis for examination questions. Class examinations will require an understanding of lecture and reading materials, and result in applications of the knowledge to practical situations. One research project will be presented.


Grading: A: 90-100; B: 80-89; C: 70-79; D: < 70. Total points: 100, including two midterm exams: 60% (30% each); Research presentation: 10%; final exam: 30%.


Attendance Policy:

Regular prompt attendance is required for success in this course. Only University approved absences will be accepted. Because classroom or group discussion will form an important part of class lectures, excessive absences may result in a 10% reduction of your overall grade or your being dropped from the course.


Academic Misconduct:

"The University gives high priority to matters of academic ethics and abhors all types of cheating, including plagiarism. Plagiarism is the act of representing the work of another as one’s own and may consist of copying, paraphrasing, or otherwise using written or oral work of another without proper acknowledgement of the source or presenting oral or written material prepared by another as one's own.” (SIUE Summer 2003 Class Schedule, p. 13).


In the event of academic misconduct, the student is subject to a number of penalties, including a failing grade for a plagiarized assignment or for a course.


Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities should visit the Disability Support Services (DDS) located in the Student Success Center, Room 1270, at their earliest convenience to meet the director and discuss available services.  The student with a documented disability and a disability ID card from DSS should also notify the instructor as soon as possible to make any necessary arrangements.


Lecture Schedule:


Week 1: Course Introduction; Phytoremediation: Concepts and principles - overview and evaluation of phytoremediation technology; Phytoremediation system selection


Week 2: Phytoremediation mechanisms, including plant tolerance to inorganic pollutants and biotransformation; Role of plant-microbial interaction in phytoremediation


Week 3: Phytoremediation research techniques; Case studies - phytoremediation of inorganic and/or organic contamination; Use of genetic engineering technology in phytoremediation


Week 4: Field phytoremediation design, implementation, monitoring, and management in relation to environmental policy and regulation


Week 5: Case studies/class room discussion; Term Exam I, covers materials from Weeks1 to 4.


Week 6: Treatment wetland structure and function: Natural and constructed wetlands; wetland soils.


Week 7: Wetland hydrology; wetland microbial and plant communities; Wetland wildlife.


Week 8: Treatment wetland project planning and design: Wastewater source characterization; Wetland alternative analysis; General wetland size; Regulatory constraints.


Week 9: (Spring break, no class)


Week 10: Surface-flow wetlands; subsurface flow wetlands; natural wetland systems; Ancillary benefits of wetland treatment systems.


Week 11: Case studies/classroom discussion; Term Exam II, covers materials from Weeks 6 to 10.


Week 12: Effects of treatment wetlands on water quality: Physical-chemical characteristics of wetlands.


Week 13: Case studies: Wetland treatments of suspended solids, biochemical oxygen demand, nitrogen, phosphorous, trace elements, and organic compounds.


Week 14: Treatment wetland - treatment system establishment, operation, and maintenance.


Week 15: Student research presentations


Week 16: Field trips (day time in a weekend): Municipal wastewater treatment systems; Constructed wetlands/storm water retention ponds; Phytoremediation research systems.


Week 17: Final Exam, covers materials from Weeks 11 to 16.