Wetlands are among Florida’s most important natural resources. They provide an array of ecological and environmental functions. These functions are the biological, physical, and chemical processes which take place between water, vegetation, soil, microbial and wildlife communities within a wetland.
Wetland functions result in environmental and economic values. The utilization of wetlands for wastewater treatment is a good example of the association between wetland functions and values. By using the natural biogeochemical processes in wetlands, wastewater wetlands produce a desired output: low energy, high quality wastewater treatment that results in environmental enhancement, not degradation. This output translates into economic benefits for the facility and environmental benefits to Floridians.
In the context of domestic wastewater activities, several wetland processes are important, such as nutrient assimilation and storage, heavy metal retention, organic decomposition, sediment filtration, hydrologic storage and dispersion, and water resource recharge. These processes result in improved water quality, flood control, and water supply.
The Department, through Chapter 62-611, F.A.C., allows a method of advanced wastewater treatment which may be less expensive than conventional treatment processes, while at the same time serving to maintain, create, and restore wetland hydrology and habitat. Properly managed wastewater treatment wetlands improve water quality and the environment.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.