Advantages of constructed wetlands
What is a Constructed Wetland, and how does it work?
A built wetland is a water treatment system in a nutshell. Constructed wetlands are complex, integrated systems in which water, plants, animals, microbes, and the environment—sun, soil, and air—interact to improve the water quality, replicating the processes that occur in natural wetlands.
Constructed wetlands are artificial wetlands to the extent that what is man-made is artificial, whereas what is generated by nature is said to be natural. Natural wetlands are created by geology, hydrology, and biology, whereas manmade wetlands are the result of human talent and technology. The processes that occur in natural wetlands are used to clean wastewater and are designed, built, and operated by humans.
However, referring to manmade wetlands as solely artificial, man-made, or designed misses the point and minimizes its most important attribute. Constructed wetlands are natural habitats to some extents because they use, and even try to maximize, the physical, chemical, and biological processes of the natural wetland ecosystem. Constructed wetlands can successfully eliminate numerous contaminants associated with urban and industrial wastewater and runoff if they are properly built, maintained, and operated. At the same time, the processes that occur in natural wetlands helps to improve the water quality.
Although one of the primary functions of manmade wetlands is to clean various types of wastewater, the facilities are frequently used for other reasons. The workings of the wetland process could be studied and evaluated through research. A wetland can also be used as a wildlife refuge, attracting a variety of creatures and providing habitat. A wetland can also be a public attraction that welcomes visitors to learn about its environmental and educational benefits.
Constructed Wetlands: Advantages and Benefits
Constructed wetlands have a number of benefits. Advantages of constructed wetlands broadens their appeal to include engineers and those involved in the operation of wastewater treatment facilities, as well as environmentalists and people interested in recreation. Unlike some water issues, where the benefits to one group outweigh the disadvantages to another, the proper operation of constructed wetlands can benefit a wide range of stakeholders. Natural wetlands are created by geology, hydrology, and biology, whereas manmade wetlands are the result of human talent and technology. Some advantages of constructed wetlands include:
improve the water quality
Surface runoff can be intercepted before it reaches open water, and contaminants can be removed using physical, chemical, and biological methods. The processes that occur in natural wetlands. The Congaree Bottomland Hardwood Swamp in South Carolina eliminates enough contaminants from the watershed to equal what a $5 million treatment facility would remove. As a result, wetlands are a more cost-effective solution than typical wastewater and storm water treatment methods to improve the water quality.
Shorelines and streambanks are protected from erosion by riparian wetlands, salt marshes, and marshes around lake margins. Wetland plants’ roots hold soil in place and can slow the speed of stream or river currents.
Wetlands can help with flood mitigation by soaking up and storing floodwater. According to the EPA, flood losses in the United States average $2 billion per year (with a 30-year average closer to $8 billion). A wetland can normally hold 3 acre feet of water, which is worth $1 million.
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Enhancement of the habitat
Wetlands can help game and non-game species thrive. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, wetlands play an important role in the life cycles of 75 percent of commercially caught fish and shellfish in the United States, as well as up to 90% of recreational fish catch. Wetlands are also important habitat for endangered and threatened species. Wetlands make up around 5% of the land area in the lower 48 states, yet they are home to more than a third of threatened and endangered species. At some point in their lives, 20% of the country’s threatened and endangered species use or inhabit wetlands.
Availability of water Wetlands can have a positive impact on water supply by acting as reservoirs for the watershed and releasing water held in surface and ground water.
Hiking, fishing, bird watching, photography, and hunting are just a few of the outdoor activities that may be enjoyed in wetlands.