Since 1987, the Orlando Wetlands Park has been in continuous operation, polishing approximately 5.11 billion gallons of reclaimed water annually.
Once reclaimed water enters the Park, 1,200 acres of wetlands ecosystem naturally removes the nutrients of nitrogen and phosphorus from the water. As the wetland plants grow, they consume nutrients thereby removing them from the water. When the plants die, they fall into the water and decay into muck.
Overtime the muck increasingly accumulates on the bottom of the wetlands. When the layer of muck becomes too thick, it slows the flow of water and causes nutrients to be released back into the water. At this point the muck needs to be removed.
Through numerous research efforts and studies, the right time to remove the accumulated muck is determined. The area to be renovated, or demucked, is then blocked from receiving water flow and is drained. Heavy equipment is then brought in to remove the excess vegetation and muck. During each renovation, approximately 18 inches of muck is removed from the bottom of the wetland. Upon completion, the ground is leveled out and water flow is returned. Beneficial aquatic plants, such as giant bulrush, pickerelweed, duck potato and other native plants, are also reinstalled for their nutrient removal abilities and usefulness to wildlife.
In August of 2002, the Wetlands Park underwent its first wetland renovation or demucking project. Renovations have continued periodically ever since. On average, demucking projects are approximately 100 acres in size and result in the removal of approximately 200,000 cubic yards of muck and vegetation.
Learn more about Wetlands Renovation.