The Little Known Benefits of Constructed Wetlands

Nowadays, it’s typical to see a wetland area within new suburban property developments. Constructed wetlands not only provide another dimension to a park-like setting for the community to enjoy, but they also serve a functional purpose as well.

Constructed Wetland

* Programmed constructed this wetland at Aitken College in Greenvale, Victoria.

A constructed wetland is one that is artificially created to capitalise on the benefits that natural wetlands produce. Two key benefits constructed wetlands have are maintaining water quality by removing contaminants from urban run-off and by its flood control capabilities. Constructed wetlands can also help atone for the loss of natural wetlands, provide habitat for wildlife, as well as providing the community with a recreation amenity.

Wetlands usually consist of 3 key areas. The first is the inlet zone where stormwater enters the wetland from a waterway. Its main purpose is to remove coarse sediments and to slow the speed of stormwater flowing into the next area of the wetland. The second stage is macrophyte zone and this is where finer sediments are then filtered through aquatic plants. It is also where the wetland naturally treats stormwater by algae and bacteria converting soluble pollutants into nutrients. The outlet zone is the last zone and usually takes the form of a small lake. This larger body of water allows finer particles to sink and settle into the bottom and lets sunlight through to help kill harmful bacteria.

It is only recently that wetlands have been recognised to play such an important role in naturally treating water and assisting with the management of stormwater. Wetlands were viewed as an impediment to developing land and it was common practice to remove them by draining and filling. Some argue that this practice of removing the land’s natural filtering system has contributed to the decline in the quality of our water resource system.

Nowadays, councils and property developers are now recognising the benefits of wetlands and prefer to specify them as their storm water treatment of choice. In fact, approximately 90% of new estates in Australia are required to have some sort of wetland area or water sensitive urban design (insert link to description).

Programmed Property Services has constructed and maintained a number of wetlands in new property developments around the country. You can see one such constructed wetland take shape at the Providence Estate, Greenvale, Victoria.

Constructed Wetland

Constructed Wetland

Providence Estate Image 3

 

References:
http://www.melbournewater.com.au/planning-and-building/stormwater-management/wsud%20treatments/pages/wetlands.aspxhttp://www.sa.gov.au/upload/franchise/Housing,%20property%20and%20land/PLG/WSUD_chapter_13.pdf
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constructed_wetland


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