Wastewater System Components

With the goal of managing wastewater effectively, economically and ecologically, IWS mimicks nature's processes in the design of ecosystems for wastewater processing based on constructed wetlands and vegetated soil filters.


Constructed wetlands mimic natural wetlands and marshes by mechanically filtering, chemically transforming, and biologically consuming potential pollutants in the wastewater stream. In use since the mid 1970's, they have been used to clean industrial, agricultural and domestic wastewater.

Constructed Wetlands are adaptable in shape and size and typically consist of a series of vegetated plots filled with crushed brick, sand or gravel. While some constructed wetlands are solely water based systems, Integrated Water Strategies combines soil filters with the moisture regimes of periodically flooded wetland environments. These types of Constructed Wetlands, also called hybrid systems, allow for periods of dry, aerobic conditions that sustain more complete pollutant removal. They are highly effective in nitrogen and BOD removal.


Planter Box Wetland at Jordan Lake Business Center


Wetland Garden at Montessori


Vegetated Soil Filters and Sand Filters mimic permeable upland areas that soak up and cleanse runoff as it travels through the soil toward groundwater. The soil and plant root mass acts as a filter by removing sediment and pollutants such as phosphorous. Oxygen inside the soil filter aerates the wastewater and fuels the microbes that break down excess nutrients and reduce BOD.

Soil filters have been widely used since the 1970's to treat household wastewater at sites where soil conditions (high water table and slowly permeable clays) hinder the performance of a standard septic system.

Soil and sand filters are generally built as earth berms or are framed and filled with sand.

Earth berms are small hills of soil and gravel similar to sand dunes. Wastewater is pumped intermittently into the top of the mound, allowing for dry periods. This is effective in the removal of BOD, sediment and nutrients.