Floating wetlands for water clarification

brob1969(9b)July 13, 2008

I am constructing a floating island wetlands to launch in a pond dug on a construction site (I am a General Contractor) in Florida. The pond is about a quarter-acre in size and was dug for the soil which will be used to create an earthen home.

After more than a month, the pond is still very silty having the color of dark coffee. The entire project is designed to work in harmony with nature; the home is completely off-grid and there are constructed wetlands both inside and outside of the home that will be an onsite wastewater treatment facility. The pond has already become home to quite a bit of wildlife including some tiny fish that have appeared from nowhere; I would like to use a floating wetlands to help with water clarity and to help keep the pond healthy.

After trying to find information on the internet regarding such a thing, I found very little information; so I decided to design and build a 'raft' out of 4' PVC and line it with a plastic mesh filled with peat. I will plant things that can grow hydroponically, take up toxins, and provide a healthy bioculture for the water. I know things like reed, cattail, and papyrus do a good job of removing heavy metals and excess nutrients from the water, but does anyone have any ideas of what may improve the water clarity?

Here is a link that might be useful: The off-grid house being built

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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

I suggest you try some peat separately first. I would fear that peat would color the water indefinitely. The water in the tundra where many forms of peat grow is always brown.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 2:14PM
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Interesting project! The following is going to introduce you to a new learning curve and company where I know you will receive some hands-on, educated help. Go to http://floridavetiver.com for more information on how to contact them. For your general information Google "Vetiver grass" where you will find a tremendous amount of information on this grass which is used for water purification, erosion control in warm climates around the world. I have used Vetiver grass in a number of situations and know that this company will help you solve your problem.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 4:09PM
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I was wondering about the peat and coloration issue and I have been looking into coir instead; I just haven't found a source for a significant amount as of yet.

Nandina... Thank you for the link; very interesting plant with an amazing root system! I am contacting the company right away.

The link below is the photo of the test launch of the island; it is about 110 sqft on the surface. I am trying to find coir to load it with and I was a little short on the webbing. I just wanted to get it into the water to make sure there were no bubbles.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 8:56PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

What you need are floating aquatic plants. There are many many choices but the runaway best for water clarification
is water hyacinth. They float on the water no soil required. They have an astounding growth rate and pull impurites from the water equally as well.
M ajor drawback lol They are an "Invasive weed" in all warm areas of the world. It is illegal to grow them in florida in theory lol.
I use them in my water gardens for mainly clarifying reasons but they also have very beautiful flowers.
They will require constant harvesting but easy just pull them out they can't grow without a water source.
Again there there are many other choices of floating plants but none comes close to WH for this purpose.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2008 at 7:25AM
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Beeone(4 N. Wyo.)

Don't know the reason behind it, but in areas of Canada they submerge a small bale of straw in livestock watering ponds. It will help control algae and moss growth for several months.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2008 at 2:57AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance

Water Hyacinth's. Hmmmmmmmmmm I googled it, and may sink a container just to grow the flower, and I wouldn't mind putting a few fish in there for the grandkiddies to watch.

How are they as a cut flower? They look beautiful, and I'm wondering how long they last as a cut flower. In a bouquet with roses, oh my!!

I live in a warm area, so they should thrive! We have clay soil, and a high water table.

I love this thread.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 1:29PM
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Several projects are established or underway around the world using Vetiver grass to absorb contaminants from water. The link to my blog below will lead you to the report on the progress of the Lake Wister, Oklahoma project. This is the first major use of this technique in the USA. My nursery in Puerto Rico is supplying the plants being used here. Check the blog for more on Vetiver grass and our contact information.

Here is a link that might be useful: Quarry Island Cove Demonstration Project , Oklahoma, USA

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 1:48PM
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Water hyacinth will take over everywhere and even plug everything. The Astez indians used floating gardens in what is the area around Mexico City. I wish I could remember now but there is a website where this gentleman have been traveling around the world showing people how to grow where nothing would grow before. In this process he has found many ways to improve and as he said clean water to the drinking point.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 9:15PM
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Be sure any floating platform you use is free from fire-retardant chemicals. Much of the EVA Foam (anti-fatigue mat) material - possibly those made in China) contain trace amounts of flame retardant. Some places - such as in California - are showing a thinning of Peregrine Falcon eggshells potentially due to the flame retardant in plastics... best use coir or a certified plastic...

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 4:31PM
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