Local Government Magazine
Innovations

Floating media treatment

Northland-based Waterclean Technologies has pioneered internationally an innovative treatment for waste water laden with nutrients, heavy metals or suspended solids.

The Floating Media Treatment (FTM) cleans up waste water ponds biologically through the use of active suspended plants growing on floating platforms, known as floating islands.

Waterclean’s new technology essentially provides a fibrous base for the hydroponically growing plants to create a colossal mass of surface area within the plants’ root zone.

This area is where microbes and bacteria live. They adhere to the roots and the microscopic root hairs of the plants and within the fibrous base, secreting sticky extracellular proteins forming biofilms. Within the biofilms they trap and settle TSS and digest the organic matter/nutrients found in wastewater, including BOD, nitrogen and phosphorous.

What is impressive about the FTM is the massive activated area created below the water level by the plant life supported above the water level. The larger the underwater surface area, the more microbes/bacteria can be supported and the cleaner the effluent.

The floating platforms are made from 100% recycled polyethylene terephthalate which is made into non-woven, non-toxic inert and durable matrix of fibres manufactured into modules and covered with coir matting.

Plant species used for the Floating Media Treatment are selected within a range of terrestrial/wetland sedges, producing superior root structures and providing the increased surface area.

As it is flexible the FTM can be bolted together, fitted to any existing water body shape and can handle fluctuating water levels. It requires zero land use and can be retrofitted to existing ponds as a low cost alternative to building additional ponds.

Waterclean says the FTM’s cost of life value is extremely low and competitive with minimal operator input and no operational energy costs.

An extra bonus is the enhancement of the landscape with attractive plants biologically cleaning up the country’s waste water.