Orlando Wetlands Park: A model for wastewater treatment
When the City of Orlando opened the world’s first large-scale wetland treatment center three decades ago, it was far ahead of the times.
Now there are 2,000 similar centers around the world, including 600 in the United States and 35 in Florida.
The 1,200 acres of former pastureland in Christmas can handle 57 million gallons of sewage effluent a day, which is filtered naturally through the wetlands and discharged 40 days later as drinkable water into the St. Johns River.
The scenic Orlando Wetlands Park is like nature’s sponge, cleansing the water as it seeps into native plants that filter out harmful nutrients.
Back in the late 1960s and 1970s, wastewater was discharged into streams, lakes or oceans. Wetlands treatment technology passes wastewater effluent, or stormwater runoff, through a natural wetland system.