Volume No. 2 Issue No.: 4B Page No.: 671-679 April-June 2008




Prithviraj V. Chavan*1, 2 and Keith E. Dennett1

1. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Nevada, Reno (USA)
2. Converse Consultants, 4840 Mill Street, Suite 5, Reno, Nevada 89502 (USA)


Received on : November 14, 2007




Several research studies have proven that constructed wetlands are a reliable and cost-effective method for removing nutrients (total nitrogen (TN) and phosphorus) and total suspended solids, as well as metals. Steamboat Creek (SBC) due to its elevated concentrations of nutrients make the most polluted tributary of the Truckee River. The creek annually contributes approximately 900 tons of total suspended solids, 70 tons of nitrogen, and 15 tons of phosphorus. The construction of a large-scale wetland system has been proposed as a component of a regional watershed restoration plan by the Cities of Reno and Sparks and the Army Corps of Engineers at the confluence of the Truckee River and creek in Reno, Nevada, USA. Therefore, in order to quantify nutrient and sediments removal in the proposed system a pilot-scale wetland was constructed along the creek at the Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility (TMWRF), Sparks, Nevada. Nutrients and sediments in the wetland influent and effluent flows were routinely monitored, along with other parameters (e.g., dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature, and total suspended solids). Results indicated seasonal variations in nutrient removal with the highest removals observed during summer and lowest removals during winter. However, no seasonal variation in sediments removal was observed. Based on experimental designs approximately 30 to 80% of total nitrogen, 20 to 60% of total phosphorus, and 10 to 95% of total suspended solids are removed. This study provides important empirical data that can be used by watershed managers in making decisions regarding wetland construction, management, and operation more effective in order to the reduce nutrient loads to the Truckee River.


Keywords : Steamboat creek, Truckee river, Constructed wetlands, Nutrients, Suspended solids