Engineered wetland (EWL) is a land treatment system that utilizes natural processes to improve water quality. The EWL system consists of vegetation, aquatic organisms, soils and the associated microbes designed to assist in improving water quality through phytoremediation. Engineered wetlands are commonly utilized to improve municipal wastewater quality however, such technology is not common in treating industrial wastewater (IWW) from oil and gas operations and further, EWL technology has not been tested or implemented in Qatar. EWL technology is promising for Qatar due to land availability, hardy native plant species and suitable climate. The efficiency and sustainability of EWL is highly influenced by its treatment media. A joint project between ExxonMobil Research Qatar (EMRQ) and the Environmental Studies Center of Qatar University (ESC) is carried out to investigate the abilities of native and/or cultivated plant species to improve IWW quality through phytoremediation. Experiments using selected plants were conducted using soil cultures and sand cultures in the first stage of the project, while the second stage will be expanded to include water cultures. The change in the microbial flora in sand cultures and soil cultures at the rhizosphere was also monitored during the course of the growth of plants. This presentation will report results for the effectiveness of the the native plants potential in removing, degrading and eliminating constituents from IWW. Results indicate that IWW had detrimental impact on all plants studied in the sand culture. On the other hand, the results of soil culture indicate that only barley was negatively affected by IWW. The results also showed that common reed (Phragmites Australis) could be a promising aquatic native plant in any phytoremediation project in the future.


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