Online Course on Constructed Wetlands for Wastewater Treatment

IHE Delft Wastewater Treatment

Target Audience

The course is designed for professionals actively involved in wetland management and/or wastewater treatment. They may be working in organisations responsible for water treatment or responsible for wetland conservation/sustainable use of wetlands. Targeted are also those who have an interest in onsite wastewater treatment for small communities.


This online course deals with the basic principles of wastewater treatment in constructed wetlands and enables the participants at the end of the course to make a proper design of their own wetland system for wastewater treatment.

Participants complete the course in a period of about four months (16 weeks) with a workload of 140 hours. A participant is expected to spend about 8 hours per week on reading, discussion and assignments. The course is sub-divided into 3 modules and a written assignment.

Within the course, each module starts and ends on a specified day. Generally, a subject takes 3 weeks. Within this period, the participant is free to study in his or her own time. Questions with regard to the subject can be posted on the discussion forum, eliciting responses from fellow participants. The teachers also regularly comment on the questions posted on this forum.

Each subject ends with assignments for which participants have to use their newly acquired knowledge and interact with the teacher and the other participants using the discussion platform of the online learning environment. Participation will be assessed on the basis of tutor assignments, contribution to the online discussion assignments and the final paper. Upon successful completion of the course, participants will receive a Course Certificate issued by IHE Delft.

Course content

1. Module 1 – Introduction to wetlands for water quality

  • General overview of the “Wetlands for Water Quality” module contents
  • History of and philosophy on the use of wetlands for water treatment
  • The IHE Delft I-learning Environment
  • Homework WWQ-1 and WWQ-2
  • Meet the course coordinators
  • Welcome by rector of IHE Delft
  • Overview all assignments

2. Module 2 – Importance of wetlands

  • The value of wetlands
  • Ecology of tropical wetlands

           – Wetland Types

           – Types of Wetland Vegetation

           – Vegetation Dynamics

           – Functions and Benefits

  • Wetlands and climate
  • Assignment

3. Module 3 – Natural wetlands for water treatment

  • Basic principles
  • Case study Lake Victoria
  • Case study Nakivubo swamp
  • Assignment

4. Module 4 – Constructed wetlands for water treatment

  • Types of constructed wetlands and principles
  • Constructed wetlands for various types of wastewater, like municipal, domestic, agriculture, industry, runoff, and sludge dewatering and stabilisation
  • Design of constructed wetlands
  • Operation and maintenance of constructed wetlands
  • Constructed wetlands in Flanders (Belgium)
  • Case study constructed wetland on Texel Island
  • Economics and reuse

5. Module 5 – Final assignment

Make a design of a specific wetland

Learning Objectives

Upon completion, the participant should be able to:

  • Understand the basic principles of wastewater treatment
  • Distinguish the functions of the different compartments in the constructed wetland
  • Apply the concept of constructed wetlands to wastewater treatment
  • Evaluate the importance of operation and maintenance
  • Design a constructed wetland treatment system