Wetlands Work strives to create innovative solutions that are simple, low maintenance and affordable. We focus on wastewater treatment systems, sanitation promotion and awareness, and water quality testing. Keeping it local is a WW! priority – local labor and materials are used, and the application of treated water and waste products in agriculture is promoted.
The water WW! treats comes from a variety of sources: residential, institutional, commercial, industrial, zoo animal enclosures and turtle breeding ponds, remote ecotourist stations and natural swimming pools. Our work is research-based and often eclectic, and has produced novel designs including the HandyPod for challenging floating and land-based environments, the TerraPod – a promising research design for persistent environmental contaminants, a $3 hand pump, a $20 hand washing water filter for contaminated ambient water, and a simple FSM protocol for HandyPods and pit latrines
Wetlands in nature clean water while supporting diverse communities of microbes, plants and animals. The same natural processes found in wetlands are used in our water treatment designs — in our various constructed wetland systems, the HandyPod, and our hand washing stations. We create natural and efficient treatment environments by designing contained zones of dense aerobic and/or anaerobic microbes and plants with significant mycorrhizal root systems. Treatment water moves through these containments by gravity flow and becomes progressively cleaner along the way.
Sanitation Promotion and Awareness
We partner with NGOs, government and other stakeholders in developing and implementing programs for raising awareness of the importance of sanitation and the link between environmental and human health among diverse groups. WW! provides teacher hygiene education as well as classroom materials on proper hygiene practices in numerous floating schools where HandyPod sanitation has been installed on Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake. In the near future, WW! will initiate for local Cambodian schools a talk-and-field-trip format about the multitude of services natural wetlands provide.
Natural Swimming Pool Designs
Natural swimming pools have been growing in popularity as a healthier, less expensive, and more aesthetic alternative to chemically treated systems. Constructed wetlands can be a part of the pool’s landscape design and water treatment. WW! can help design a working wetland landscape that treats pool water.
Water Quality Testing & Field Lab
As part of our training program with Pannasastra University of Cambodia’s environmental science program, we provide basic water quality testing (E. coli and total coliforms, nitrate, and phosphate) in our shared microbiology lab. Other parameters may also be available. At the Royal University of Agriculture, student interns assist WW! in trialing treatment prototypes at our field lab.