Document Library

Performance Evaluation of a Floating Treatment Wetland in an Urban Catchment - Bribie Island, Queensland, Australia. Published by MDPI.

Peer-reviewed article, by authors Peter Nichols, Terry Lucke, Darren Drapper and Chris Walker, published by Switzerland-based journal MDPI, detailing a Floating Treatment Wetlands performance in a stormwater catchment pond in Queensland, Australia. This is a SPEL WaterClean project, using BioHaven technology.

Liquid Assets: Capital Ways to Save Water, by Cornelia Eisenach (SE Bulletin) March 2015

This SE BULLETIN feature article extensively quotes UK water scientist Leela O'Dea on BioHaven floating wetlands, as well as other leading scientists on ways to mitigate water scarcity and clean up the available water we have.

Floating Islands for Stormwater and Other Applications - by Dr. Mark Reinsel, PE, published in Water Online

Please read this excellent summary of the performance and benefits of BioHaven floating islands in stormwater applications by following this link.

Floating Treatment Wetlands (FTWs) in Water Treatment: Treatment efficiency and potential benefits of activated carbon. I Dodkins & AF Mendzil, SEACAMS Swansea University

A thorough review of published papers to date (March 2014) on Floating Treatment Wetlands.  Of the studies referenced, the majority related to BioHaven Technology.

Land Contamination & Reclamation

Floating islands as an alternative to constructed wetlands for treatment of excess nutrients from agricultural and municipal wastes – results of laboratory-scale tests

2007 Final Report to Montana Board of Research and Commercialization Technology

The purpose of this project was to produce and test biomimetic, self-sustaining fl oating treatment wetlands (“fl oating islands”) that are designed to remove excess nutrients and other contaminants from lakes, streams, and wastewater lagoons.

Final Report: Evaluation of Floating Wetland Islands (FWIs) as a Retrofit to Existing Stormwater Detention Basins A 319(h) project sponsored by NCDENR – Division of Water Quality NC DENR Contract Number 1653

A 4-year study of BioHaven Floating Islands in two storm water detention ponds in North Carolina measures the reduction in nine parameters of concern, and finds that the retro fit made good ponds work even better.

A compliation of BioHaven® floating island nutrient removal data - 2011

This paper presents summary data for floating islands in laboratory, pilot scale and demonstration settings, focusing on contaminants of concern in waste water: ammonia, total Nitrogen, total Phosphorus and BOD.

Final report of the second MBRCT grant - Professor Alfred B. Cunningham, Center for Biofilm Engineering, Montana State University - 2010

Control of Microbial Processes for Enhanced Water Treatment using Floating Island Treatment Systems.

Independent study undertaken by NIWA (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric research of New Zealand)

This is a comprehensive review of all commercial embodiments of floating islands, which rates BioHavens as the best of all current offerings.

How BioHaven® Testing and Analysis Data Can Support Future Projects

Alden has provided extensive hydraulic testing services to Floating Island International to support the use of BioHavens® for various purposes including open water beautification and shoreline stabilization applications. This document summarizes the testing that was performed and how that testing can be used in order to support future proposed projects.

Floating treatment wetlands –an innovative solution to enhance removal of fine particulates, copper and zinc

Reduction of metals, particularly copper and zinc, in urban stormwater has been identified as a priority to protect the health of aquatic ecosystems in the Auckland Region (Auckland Regional Council, 2004). Floating treatment wetlands (FTW), employing emergent plants growing on a mat floating on the water surface, rather than rooted in the bottom sediments, provide an innovative option for treating urban stormwaters.

Floating Treatment Wetlands: an Innovative Option for Stormwater Quality Applications

Floating Treatment Wetlands (FTWs) are an innovative variant of the more traditional constructed wetland and pond technologies that offer great potential for treatment of urban stormwaters. FTWs employ rooted, emergent macrophytes (similar to those used in surface and subsurface flow wetlands) growing on a mat floating on the surface of the water rather than rooted in the sediments.

Shepherd Research Center: Pheasant Study - Creating a world-class pheasant hunt

By altering four variables, land that had formerly been farm ground was converted to terrific habitat for ground-nesting birds, especially pheasant.  Read this study, conducted over seven years, to find out why it was so successful.

Case Studies

Holly Pond - Algae reduction in a housing subdivision stormwater pond

Using standard BioHavens in concert with a BioHaven Floating Streambed, the City of Sheridan was able to significantly reduce algae in this housing pond and improve the quality of water and the quality of life for residents.

Moonlight Basin - excellent Nitrogen removal from wastewater at altitude

This stunning array of BioHavens, installed and planted by Watershed Consulting, out-performed the customer's expectation with exceptional Nitrogen removal.

CH2M Hill study measuring nutrient removal by BioHaven technology in waste water

This major study of the impact of 20 BioHaven floating islands demonstrated our highest removal rates so far on Nitrogen and Phosphorus, as well as documenting ancillary benefits of wildlife habit and mosquito abatement. The original research report is available on request from

Minnow Pond - Establishing Brush Park Aquaculture using BioHaven technology combined with wisdom from SE Asia

Native minnows are an established and widespread solution for keeping disease-bearing insects under control.  Brush-park aquaculture has been practiced for centuries in SE Asia where the yield per acre is phenomenal.  This case study documents how we have created ideal conditions at the Shepherd Research Center to support a burgeoning population of fathead and stickleback minnow, following the brush-park principles.  The study was conducted by Dr. Mark Reinsel and Patrick Hurley in the summer of 2013.

BioHaven FTW Streambed treats private sewage lagoon

A BioHaven Streambed FTW installed in a wastewater retention pond reduced levels of ammonia, total nitrogen, BOD and TSS by up to 99%, 78%, 96% and 95%, respectively.  The visual appearance and odor of the pond were noticeably improved after BioHaven installation.

BioHaven technology is successfully used to protect and restore sensitive coastlines

Protection and restoration of sensitive coastal areas is a key use of BioHaven systems.  The proven wave-dampening qualities of the BioHaven Matrix allows it to function as a breakwater, absorbing energy and protecting the shoreline from further damage.  Its ability to act as a sediment trap enables marsh grasses to be re-established and thrive in areas where they have disappeared.  The projects covered by this case study have been hugely successful, and have garnered a Gulf Guardian award for Shell Oil, a key proponent of this technology.

BioHaven Floating Islands technology enables this Louisiana wastewater facility to stay in compliance and win an EPA award in the process

This Louisiana DEQ-funded project achieved the best nutrient uptake recorded to date in the US using BioHaven floating islands.  During a seventeen-month period of monthly sampling, COD, ammonia and phosphate were reduced to consistently manageable levels to keep the facility in compliance.

Successful treatment of industrial stormwater runoff using Floating Island Technology at a site in Billings, MT

This two-year study documents the success of an FTW installation in treating light industrial stormwater runoff.

North Carolina Stormwater BMP Study (Bill Hunt Study)

A 4-year study of BioHaven Floating Islands in two storm water detention ponds in North Carolina measures the reduction in nine parameters of concern, and finds that the retro fit made good ponds work even better.

Mermaid Pool: Passive Biohavens remove phosphorus in a New Jersey stormwater pond

This study, undertaken by Princeton Hydro, demonstrates that even without added aeration, BioHaven floating islands qualify as a BMP for removal of phosphorus from stormwater ponds.  They are effective even at low concentrations of 0.1 mg/L.

Successul removal of BOD, TSS and Nitrogen from Landfill Leachate using Floating Island Technology

This case study summarizes initial results of the first field-scale application of Floating Island International’s patented floating treatment wetland (FTW) technology to treat landfill leachate. Constructed of post-consumer polymer fibers and vegetated with native plants, FTWs mimic the ability of natural wetlands to clean water by bringing a “concentrated wetland effect” to any water body–in this case, several treatment lagoons.

Marton Waste Water Treatment: First-of-its-kind floating island "Lid" eliminates odor, reduces BOD and cuts annual operating costs

In this innovative application of a BioHaven floating island from New Zealand, a blanket or lid is built to cover and treat a pond anaerobically, thereby reducing troublesome odors which had until then plagued the residents of Marton. This treatment option was highly successful in improving the effluent, and saved the city approximately $150,000 in annual operating costs.

Early-Stage Floating Island Achieves Nutrient Removal in Aerated Facultative Wastewater Treatment Lagoons

Results of this case study illustrate the early stages of the FTW technology as passive installations with no integrated circulation or aeration. They represent the first steps in the progression of the FTW technology in wastewater treatment applications. As with any technology, early versions serve as the critical basis for refining and developing more advanced latest generation manifestations (see Rehberg Case Study).

Achieving Significant Nutrient Removal in Aerated Wastewater Lagoons using floating island technology

This case study demonstrates the abilities of Floating Islands to significantly reduce nutrient levels in aerated wastewater.  With a coverage area of 6.4%, the treatment lagoon in its first season achieved significantly greater removal rates, in particular of Ammonia (38%) and Total Phosphorus (27%),

Nutrient removal and algae control project in an urban lake in China

The purpose of this island was to eliminate summer algae blooms by reducing the nutrient loading in this urban lake.  The results were an impressive reduction in carbon, Nitrate and Phosphorus which successfully stopped the algal bloom from happening.

Elevated BioSwales: using floating island technology to treat runoff in streams and ditches

BioHaven matrix has been successfully deployed in the treatment of runoff inside streams and ditches prior to it entering a lake or river.  By form-fitting the swale to the stream channel, circulation is assured, short-circuiting is eliminated and treatment capacity is optimized.

Enhancing fish productivity in the Chicago River: a Masters Capstone project

In this study by Masters student, Josh Yellin, fish numbers were measured at three nearby sites: in open water, under a dock and under a BioHaven floating island.  The BioHaven showed statistically higher numbers of fish than the other two sites.

BioHavens north of Chicago win storm water BMP award for local conservation group

The Citizens for Conservation used BioHaven floating islands to augment a wetland for storm water treatment in a housing sub-division in Barrington, IL.  Their algae problem disappeared and dissolved oxygen levels went up - and Sandhill cranes successfully reared chicks on the islands.

Fish Fry Lake - 2014 Update

This case study continues where the previous one left off, covering year two of the fish harvest which is being intentionally used as a means to remove phosphorus from the nutrient-rich water of Fish Fry Lake. Fish growth rates, as a result of the BioHaven substrate, continued to be well above average, and the pounds of phosphorus removed were carefully documented. The stewardship and measurement program described here is ongoing.

From Phosphorus to Fish - stewarding Fish Fry Lake for optimum water quality enhancement

This is a report covering the first year where fish harvest was intentionally used as a means to remove phosphorus from the nutrient-rich water of Fish Fry Lake, in the agricultural area of Eastern Montana. Fish growth rates, as a result of the BioHaven substrate, were found to be well above average, and the pounds of phosphorus removed were carefully documented. The stewardship and measurement program described here is ongoing.

Floating Islands Provide Alternative Nesting Habitat for Caspian Terns

Bird monitoring results have demonstrated that floating islands can provide secure nesting habitat for Caspian terns and other bird species in areas where no natural nesting habitat exists, and where construction of rock islands is not feasible. Two recent projects have enhanced recovery of salmonids (salmon and steelhead) by encouraging relocation of Caspian terns to areas far from where juvenile salmonids migrate. Floating islands offer a potentially effective habitat alternative to traditional rock islands if the water depth is greater than 18 inches, or if the water body cannot be drained for construction of a traditional island.

Floating Island Provides Bass Spawning Habitat

The New Mexico Bass Fishing Association's mission is to enhance bass fishing habitat and opportunities within the state. A subgroup of the association, Kids of the Southwest, undertook a project in 2009 to increase the bass population at Elephant Butte, NM. These youth partnered with the New Mexico Game and Fish Department, marina owners and other local interested parties after discovering a Floating Island International licensee, Floating Islands West, which has developed floating botanical gardens to increase fish and other wildlife habitat, along with providing water quality improvements.

Floating island habitat gives endangered bird (Clapper Rail) hope for survival

This is the  story of how the clapper rail, a nearly-extinct species of bird threatened by rising sea levels and loss of coastal marshland, has been given a new hope by deploying floating islands to biomimic its natural habitat.

Floating Treatment Wetlands to Mitigate Lake Eutrophication: Enhanced Circulation and Nutrient Uptake Expand Fish Habitat

Simple, cost-effective water treatment strategies show the ability to transform agricultural effluent into world-class fish habitat. This case study discusses an ongoing experiment to monitor the efficacy of a floating treatment wetland (FTW) that incorporates air diffuser technology to lift and circulate water through floating stream beds within the FTW. This combination of FTW and efficient water circulation/aeration is trade-named Leviathan™, a model of BioHaven floating island, and represents a novel approach to address nutrient loading.

A BioHaven® Floating Island is tested in a harsh Marine Environment off the coast of SE Alaska

Two modules were launched at Elfin Cove, AK, to study the affect of salt water on plants, to find out what biota would colonize the islands and see how the islands would hold up to the forces of Nature in a marine environment.  After a whole winter in the water, the island maintained its buoyancy and structure, and the perennial plants came back in the spring.

Floating Islands Remove Propylene Glycol from Airport Stormwater in an independent study

The following case study demonstrates the capabilities of Floating Island International’s (FII) patented floating treatment wetland (FTW) technology and its ability to purify water by significantly reducing carbon concentrations. Constructed of post-consumer polymer fibers and vegetated with native plants, FTWs mimic the ability of natural wetlands to clean water by bringing a “concentrated wetland effect” to any water body – in this case, an aerated stormwater pond.

Floating Islands Outperform Constructed Wetlands

This case study compares treatment results from Floating Island International’s patented floating treatment wetland (FTW) technology (“floating islands”) with those from standard constructed wetlands. Constructed of post-consumer polymer fibers and vegetated with native plants, FTWs improve upon the ability of natural wetlands to purify water by bringing a “concentrated wetland effect” to any water body. In this study, results from treating municipal wastewater and landfill leachate with either FTWs or constructed wetlands were compared.

Floating Islands' wave dampening characteristics show promise for wave breakers and erosion control in both deep water and on the shoreline

Floating Islands show great promise in mitigating wave impact, both close to shore and in deep water.  This study, conducted by Alden laboratory, quantified wave reduction in a controlled setting.  The results have very positive implications for erosion control, stream bank protection and shoreline restoration projects.

Early-stage study shows removal of BPA (estrogen mimicker) by Floating Treatment Wetlands

This elegant study, conducted by two senior high school students as a prize-winning entry in a Science Fair competition (under the supervision of Dr Mark Osterlund), used Betta fish to measure the impact of doses of Bisphenol-A.  This is a chemical pervasive in our waterways which causes fish to become sterile.  When the test fish were subject to the chemical, their gill flares declined rapidly, indicating a loss of virility.  However, when floating islands were present, the fish recovered quickly and were back to normal within 10 days.  This study suggests that more research would be well justified, and very timely.

Proving the Concept: Field Test of Floating Treatment Wetland Technology’s Ability to Treat Simulated Wastewater

The following case study summarizes Floating Island International’s first outdoor test of the capabilities of its patented floating treatment wetland (FTW) technology and its ability to clean water by significantly reducing nutrient levels. Using field-scale floating islands with a combination of aeration / circulation, vs a control pond, further performance data was collected to add to the knowledge gained from lab tests.