Degree Year


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environmental Studies

Committee Member(s)

Carl McDaniel, Chair
Benjamin Fitch-Fleischmann
Rumi Shammin
Sean Hayes


Constructed wetlands, Eutrophication, Nutrient reduction, Life-cycle cost analysis, Ecosystem Services, Grey infrastructure


Eutrophication presents a serious threat to America's aquatic ecosystems, negatively impacting both the aquatic life and the communities dependent on these bodies of water. Reducing nutrient inflow of nitrogen and phosphorus into waterways from point and non-point sources is critical in reversing the environmental degradation caused by eutrophication. Municipal wastewater treatment plants are one of the primary point sources of nutrient-rich effluent, and as such, implementing nutrient reduction strategies within the treatment process is an impactful step towards mitigating eutrophication. Grey infrastructure technologies that use mechanical or chemical treatment have historically been used for wastewater nutrient reduction. However, constructed wetlands have also been implemented for wastewater nutrient reduction. These systems mimic the biological and chemical processes that occur in natural wetlands to remove nutrients but in a more controlled environment. A life-cycle cost analysis is conducted to analyze differences between the total life cycle costs of constructed wetland systems and grey infrastructure improvements for nutrient removal from municipal wastewater treatment facilities. Furthermore, this paper evaluates whether the inclusion of ecosystem services generated by constructed wetlands significantly reduces their life-cycle costs. The results of this study suggest that CW systems are more cost-effective than grey infrastructure technologies for nutrient reduction when ecosystem services are included in the analysis. This study lays the groundwork for future research on the inclusion of ecosystem services into future life-cycle cost analysis for nutrient reduction and cost analyses for constructed wetland systems.