Establishing an Engineered Wetland
RVA and Norfolk County are working together to reclaim a decommissioned wastewater lagoon into an engineered wetland that will preserve diverse habitats and ecosystems.
Upon completion of the new Port Rowan Wastewater Treatment Facility in March 2012, Norfolk County no longer required the existing lagoons for treatment purposes. The initial thrust was to remove the lagoons altogether, but the lagoons are an important link in a complex ecosystem that sustains several endemic bird species, with an abundance of food and nutrients.
The County and RVA realized the consequent ecological concerns associated with removing the lagoons and steered the decision towards a holistic solution that, while addressing community and pollution-related issues, would also leave the overall ecosystem improved. The lagoons will be converted into a wetland system to preserve the integrity and health of the unique ecosystem.
The wetlands will act as a natural filtration system for storm water. A nearby municipal drain will be re-routed to the newly established wetland ecosystem to provide a sustainable water source. The wetland will improve stormwater quality by reducing phosphorous and nitrogen.
To better facilitate the transition and establish the desired ecosystem, ponds will be installed at lower elevations to provide aquatic breeding grounds, and indigenous trees, shrubs and grasses will be planted. Once complete, a look-out point will be constructed to invite the public to observe and appreciate the diverse and endemic species.
Before converting the retired lagoons into a wetland, biosolids had to be removed. RVA was retained to design and oversee this process. Biosolids removed from the lagoons were utilized in land application for agricultural purposes.
This transformation from treatment lagoons to a wetland habitat is the first of its kind in Ontario.