Innovative Water Decontamination Project on an Extremelly Polluted New York Canal
Gowanus Canal in New York is notorious for being one of the most polluted waterways in the US, collecting sewage water, household and industrial waste from gas plants, chemical plants and paper mills. It was therefore included on a list of sites eligible for a 500 million dollars decontamination project to be completed in 2022. In the meantime though, a much smaller and innovative water decontamination project of a local landscape and design firm has a “flourishing” outcome. Here’s what is all about.
It’s called GrowOnUs and it’s a floating green oasis in the middle of the toxines filled waters. Signed by Balmori Associates, the project was made possible with the help of a 20,000 dollars grant from an NGO. And it was successful after three similar attempts had failed, the canal water seeming much too toxic to sustain plant life.
Innovative water decontamination project. How it works
GrowOnUs is a floating garden home to 30 plant species that act as sponges to mitigate the chemicals in the water. They include seaside goldenrod, smooth cordgrass, sumac and swamp rose mallow. The plants are grown inside metal culvert pipes, filled with eco-friendly construction materials such as recycled plastic bottles, coconut fibres and bamboo, in order to float and ensure a proper environment for plant growth.
The plants interact with the canal water and improve it through a process called phytoremediation, which is basically using plants to decontaminate water, soil and air, without having to dispose of the pollutants elsewhere. The environment beneath the island is substrate for mussels, which act as cleaners in dirty water.