The planning and design of wetland treatment systems involves all of the same factors considered for other natural as well as conventional wastewater treatment systems as described in Chapter 2 of this book. The unique aspect for wetland systems is taking into consideration habitat issues and recreational potential. The functions of a wetland system can range from an exclusive commitment to wastewater treatment to a multipurpose project incorporating environmental enhancement and public recreational benefits. The intended functions of a wetland system must be defined clearly at a very early stage in project development to permit evaluation of feasibility and to ensure cost-effective implementation. All wetland systems, including the gravel-bed SSF type, will attract birds and other wildlife. In a wetland system dedicated for treatment, these habitat values will be incidental and minimal by design. Special features can be introduced to attract specific wildlife and to ensure pleasurable public recreation. Efforts are then required to ensure that toxic or hazardous conditions are not imposed on the attracted wildlife or the public. A desirable combination is to incorporate both approaches and use dedicated treatment wetland units in the early stages of the system followed by wetland units with increasing habitat and recreational values as the water quality in the wetland improves.
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