Floating wetland pilot project – a nature based solution

The Victorian Government will fund Westernport Water to undertake an innovative pilot project to study how floating wetlands can be used to further utilise recycled water and manage emissions produced from wastewater treatment plants.

Minister for Water, the Hon. Harriet Shing MP announced the funding at a visit to Cowes Wastewater Treatment Plant last week, where floating wetlands will be built on a wastewater storage lagoon to improve water quality and biodiversity while also storing carbon.

The $250,000 grant will enable Westernport Water to further explore nature-based solutions and to better understand how floating vegetation can improve water quality and provide for improved biodiversity, while also sequestering carbon.

Findings from the pilot will be shared with the water industry and the broader community to improve the resilience and liveability of our communities as they grow and adapt to climate change. They will also be used to inform the design of a more extensive restorative wetland planned for our Corinella Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Floating wetlands use wetland plant species that are suspended on the water column with roots submersed in the water. The plants take up nutrients and carbon from the water and hold these in their plant material. This project will be assessing how effective these plants are to both remove nutrients and improve the water quality while at the same time reducing emissions of greenhouse gasses from the water, such as methane and nitrous oxide.

Read the Victorian Government Media Release https://bit.ly/3LhdLGS

Quotes attributed to Westernport Water’s Managing Director, Dona Tantirimudalige

“The Floating Wetland Pilot at the Cowes Wastewater Treatment Plant will support ground-breaking research into the performance of wetlands for both improving water quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

“The pilot project will help address a common challenge for the water industry in managing treated effluent and emissions produced from wastewater treatment plants.”

“The project involves community and industry engagement to refine project co-benefits, and findings from the pilot will inform future wetland design at Westernport Water’s Corinella Wastewater Treatment Plant.”

We acknowledge that this asset is on the lands of the Bunurong People of the Kulin Nation.  The Bunurong people have managed the resources on Millowl for thousands of years. We acknowledge them and their continued connection to this place as we go about managing the water resources today. We look forward to working together and learning how we can incorporate Aboriginal values and knowledge into this project.

Westernport Water staff and Minister for Water beside a sign for the Floating Wetlands Project

From left: Dona Tantirimudalige, Managing Director – Westernport Water, The Hon. Harriet Shing – Minister for Water, Meg Humphrys, Climate Change and Environment Advisor – Westernport Water and Chris West, Senior Wastewater Treatment Operator (Cowes) ⋅ Westernport Water