The BP oil spill has forced the public to acknowledge issues of water quality affecting our oceans, rivers, and lakes. Instead of offering up another chemical treatment plan, one Maryland company has developed a solution that works both above and below the waterline.
For many years, people have lived by the "dilution solution," assuming that because smaller amounts of pollution were being dumped into larger bodies of fresh water, the clean-up would take care of itself. We now know that any sort of water contamination puts people and wildlife in grave danger.
BioHavens floating islands are constructed from a non-woven matrix made of recycled plastic, and injected with foam for initial buoyancy. Tiny matrix fibers provide an expanded surface area for microbes to colonise – aerobic microbes which consume phosphates and ammonia, and anaerobic microbes which convert nitrates to harmless atmospheric gas. When the island is launched, a microbe biofilm begins to grow inside and around it. When water is circulated through and across the island (often through the use of Inexpensive solar- and wind-driven pumps, the biofilm gets starts to attack pollutants.
These bio-islands simultaneously remove nitrates, ammonia, phosphates, and heavy metals through the roots of wetland plants normally present in freshwater habitats.
Even after wastewater has passed through traditional treatment facilities, there are usually still high levels of phosphates present. These contaminants eventually find their way into major freshwater supplies and contributing to growing ocean dead zones.
"Floating islands can be moored in rivers, either anchored to the bottom or attached to the bank. They can be stretched right across the river, allowing fish free access underneath. They provide beneficial shade, which inhibits the growth of algae and cools the water for fish habitation" (Bio Floating Islands).
The beauty of BioHavens islands is that they can support marine plants below, and terrestrial plants above. Many have planted floating vegetable gardens that enjoy extended growing seasons and cleanse the water as it passes through to the lake or pond below.