Cleaning Water and Controlling Flooding with Wetlands

Article excerpt

Constructed wetlands in planned communities can aid in surface-water cleanup and flood prevention, according to Purdue University scientists who have completed a five-year study on the management system.

The research, begun in 1998 on three constructed ponds, or wetland cells, on a newly renovated golf course on the university campus, showed that 11 of 17 measurable chemicals in surface water were reduced after water was run through the system, said Ron Turco, soil microbiologist and senior author of the report. The results of the study are published in the February 2005 issue of Ecological Engineering.

"Golf courses are a perfect place for constructed wetlands used as part of a water management system, because wetlands can filter chemicals out of surface water, and they can also store excess water during storms," Turco said.

In addition, constructed wetlands act as a holding area that can provide recycled water for irrigation, a system the scientists used on the golf course, he said.

Constructed wetlands can also be a very good water management system in planned communities. "When you build houses, roads, and driveways," Turco said, "lots of hard surface is added, leaving no place for water to go. Building dikes and levees just moves the water problem somewhere else, causing flooding elsewhere."

The wetlands also are of aesthetic value on golf courses and in residential areas, and they create homes for wildlife and flora, Turco said. Using the recycled water for irrigation ensures that the wetlands remain wet, and the recycled surface water is less expensive than pumped groundwater.

The researchers evaluated a three-pond system on Purdue's Pete Dye-designed Kampen Golf Course. …