The constructed wetland project in De Rust has seen successes and challenges over the course of 2017, however as the year draws to a close the project is well on its way to realizing its ultimate goal of returning the unusable wastewater – at the De Rust Sewage Works – as safe, clean water back into the natural catchment systems.
Earlier stages of the project saw the construction of five long “floats” that were installed in the fourth (second-last) treatment dam of the De Rust sewage works. The floats are constructed from shade-cloth and old cool drink bottles, which create a support structure on which the “watter-scrubbing” Phragmites australis (fluitjiesriet) and Typha capensis (bulrush) plants can be mounted. The support structure is made by creating a “pillow” from the shadecloth, using old, dry Phragmites australis or Typha capensis biomass. Empty and sealed cool drink bottles are stitched into the sides of the “pillow” for stabilization and floatation. Phragmites australis or Typha capensis are then attached through the floats, with the roots hanging down below the float into the water, and the “above ground” biomass of the plant protruding from the top of the float, above the water.
Constructed floating wetlands at the sewerage works near De Rust. (Photos: Luami Zondagh)