Floating Water Treatment Island

Back to the dirty pond issue. I’ve already written about a gadget I found that speeds up water cleaning time. But even after using that gadget, algae in my pond built up again quickly, making it necessary for me to drag my butt out every few days to de-muck the pond. I needed a long-term, low-maintenance solution to water treatment for my pond.

So my hunt continued for a solution to the dirty pond problem. That’s when I stumbled upon an article about BioHavens. Biohavens are man-made floating gardens that are used as water treatment solutions. According to the makers of these floating islands…

BioHaven® floating islands (also known as floating treatment wetlands or FTWs) are a new and powerful tool in water stewardship. They biomimic natural floating islands to create a “concentrated” wetland effect. Independent laboratory tests showed removal rates far in excess of previously published data: 20 times more nitrate, 10 times more phosphate and 11 times more ammonia, using unplanted islands. They are also extremely effective at reducing total suspended solids and dissolved organic carbon in waterways.

Fascinating! Naturally, I had to give this a DIY twist and see for myself if it would work for my irrigation pond. So I build a floating island out of trash, planted it, and observed its benefits.

April of 2018 is now the beginning of the third growing season for this island, and so far the benefits have been:

  • Cleaner water
  • Protection for fish from predators
  • Amazing herb and berry garden that requires no watering
  • A garden that is naturally fenced off from critters
  • Habitat for geese and ducks
  • Moves with the fluctuating pond level

I cannot believe this water treatment solution is not more widely used. It works on so many levels and can be made out of trash that is harmful in the garbage dump. The first summer this island was put to use, the plants extended their roots into the water about 4 inches. Last summer (2nd year), they extended a good 12 inches into the water. The longer the root system, the more area for micro bacteria to attach themselves to (forming an algae-cleaning biofilm).

Here are some pictures of the design and materials I used for making my own bio filter island:

Floating Island Rigid Structure

Island structure

Polystyrene Bed

Floating Island Structure

Floating Island Lining

Burlap lining

Planted Water Treatment Island

Planted floating island

And now, for the details on how you can build your own floating water treatment island, watch the video below:

Water Treatment Island Video

Biofilter floating island

Did I mention I’ve never tasted strawberries as good as those from this island? True fact. Also true are the following negative lessons learned so far:

  • Don’t plant mint on a floating wetland. It will take over
  • Polystyrene gets waterlogged. Not sure how many years this island will stay afloat without the help of additional floating trash underneath

This year there are a couple of Mallard ducks and a couple of Canada geese that have appropriated the island as their home. I’m not sure my plants are going to have a chance to grow. But I’m happy to provide a habitat for the local wildlife.

Please share this simple solution to water treatment issues on your social media.

And thank you for stopping by.

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