This is Harbor Brook. It runs through several urban neighborhoods, collecting the storm water runoff. Adjacent to Harbor Brook is a new constructed wetland.
"Before this wetland, the water simply exited the pipe and when the storm was large enough to create an overflow condition, it exited the pipe and went into the creek directly," said Matthew Marko, CH2M Engineering.
And the untreated wastewater ended up in Onondaga Lake.
Marko said, "That’s right. Harbor Brook, like Onondaga Creek, are two major tributaries feeding Onondaga Lake and this (work) is part of the amended consent judgment to clean Onondaga Lake and the tributaries plus provide community assets like this throughout the city."
Over 120,000 plant plugs covering a broad range of species are planted here to clean up the water before it reaches the brook.
"They are all selected. Whether they are on the berm or down in the wetland basin or even on the floating treatment islands, as part of the technology to provide the best outcome for cleaning the water," Marko said.
There are actually three technologies in this system.
Marko said, "The floating wetland islands are in the first cell. We have a surface flow wetland and a downward flowing wetland as well in the third cell. These technologies all provide different levels of treatment or different ways to treat the water."
And the real plus is Mother Nature does most of the work.
Marko said, "The great thing about wetlands is that you don’t have to plug them in. They operate on very little power, no chemicals are used to operate this system and the level maintenance required, the physical labor, is minimal."