Floating Treatment Wetlands 101

Excess nutrients in waterbodies disrupt aquatic ecosystems, promoting algae growth while decreasing biodiversity. Thankfully, there is a natural, cost-effective solution to reduce pollutants and support ecological vitality. Take a look at how Floating treatment wetlands can improve water quality below!

What are they?

Floating treatment wetlands (FTWs) are innovative, artificial platforms that provide a foundation for aquatic emergent plants to grow. Theses buoyant structures mimic the functions of natural wetlands, increasing water quality by removing contaminants.

How do they work?

Floating treatment wetland structures are porous, allowing dense columns of perennial, non-invasive plant roots to spread through the bottom of the platform into the water. FTWs have an extensive surface area that provides space for microbes to grow and form biofilm; a layer of microorganisms contained in slime. Biofilm thrives off nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen, using them to grow before algae exposure. Through the process of bioremediation, organic matter and nutrients are digested by microbes and bacteria allowing for effective biological water treatment.

What are the benefits?

Floating treatment wetlands have a myriad of benefits when added to lakes or ponds. For one, these structures work with fluctuating water levels to remove nutrients in areas that aquatic plants on banks cannot reach. In addition, FTWs lower the number of particles suspended in waterbodies known as total suspended soils (TSS). These particles can lower dissolved oxygen levels and raise the temperature of water, posing a threat to aquatic life. By trapping these particles, FTWs improve the health of waterbodies to promote biodiversity. FTWs also protect wildlife by providing refuge to species above and below the water.

Herrera’s Expertise

Herrera’s team of wetland biologists and engineers have extensive experience designing, installing, and monitoring floating treatment wetlands in Washington State. With knowledge of watershed processes and landscape ecology, along with innovative construction and planting techniques, our team of experts have collaborated with clients on hundreds of tidal and freshwater ecosystem restoration projects. Learn more about our wetland experience by visiting our services page.