The Biosphere's wastewater treatment plant

Water has longtime travelled through nature, whether through the earth, plants and bacteria. As wetlands are nature’s filters, the Biosphere uses this natural system to clean the museum’s wastewater. This method consists of three basins that contain wetlands (this is a joint project with Montréal’s Jardin Botanique).

Biosphere’s Wastewater treatment plant
Biosphere’s Wastewater treatment plant

Photo: © Vista Photo, 2010

How it works?

Here are some steps of the functioning of wetlands wastewater treatment:

  1. First, the suspended particulate matter (SPM) sinks to the bottom of a decantation tank.
  2. The surface water is then pumped toward the first basin, which is filled with sand. The water circulates through the sand and the roots of plants. This basin contains bacteria that decompose the organic matter (SPM) into phosphates and nitrates (nutritive elements or inorganic compounds). The nitrates play the role of fertilizer for the plants, and the fecal coliforms (bacteria) are eliminated in this step. About 80% of the treatment is carried out in this basin.
  3. The water then follows its course to the other two basins, due to gravity--the first basin is slightly more elevated than the other two.The benefit of this system is that it eliminates a great quantity of the nitrates and phosphates, compared with a regular treatment plant.
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