Since the earliest forms of life began on earth, microbes have served effectively as Mother Nature’s treatment system for removing organic and inorganic pollutants from water and soil. With advancements in technology, however, these natural mechanisms for water quality enhancement have been replaced by a combination of chemical, biological, and mechanical systems for storm and wastewater treatment. Although these treatment methods are effective, the use of natural treatment systems such as constructed wetlands, bioretention, and phyto-treatment offer a low cost, low maintenance solution with proven results that meet discharge standards.
This presentation will outline the effectiveness of natural systems and how they treat of a variety of pollutants. Examples will range from installations that treat storm water, leachate, and acid mine drainage, to sanitary wastewater systems. Presenters also will explain the limitations of these natural treatment systems and their maintenance requirements.